Types of Depression

Depression is a complex condition affecting more than 260 million people worldwide. It can be brought on by life events, like the loss of a loved one, or suddenly appear as one ages. Men experiencing depression tend to lash out, become reckless, and misuse drugs or alcohol. Often, they do not realize that they need to seek treatment. We hope to change that. Today, we’d like to explore the various types of depression documented by psychologists. If you recognize your symptoms below, we ask that you reach out for professional help.

A Note About Mood Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, better known as the DSM-5, is the psychological community’s go-to text for diagnoses. The DSM-5 is the most recent version of the manual, although a text revision was released just this month. Simply put, this book serves as the gold standard for the diagnosis of any mental illness.

In the past, depression was categorized as a mood disorder. This term reflected the emotional turmoil caused by the condition. Bipolar disorder was also placed in this category. Today, the DSM-5 categorizes conditions as either Bipolar Disorders or Depressive Disorders. This means that our article will not refer to mood disorders, bipolar disorder, or other conditions that fall outside the diagnostic criteria for Depressive Disorders in the DSM-5 TR. We will also exclude disorders that do not impact adult men, like premenstrual dysphoric disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. If you have any questions about these conditions, you can still contact The Last Resort for more information about comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment.

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is probably what you think of when you hear the word depression. Men suffering from this condition experience a very low mood for at least two weeks. Their symptoms often occur in extremes. Some depressed men gain weight and sleep all the time (hypersomnia), while others rapidly lose weight and cannot sleep at all (insomnia).

Men with major depressive disorder lose interest in beloved hobbies, complain of fatigue, and may even think about death or suicide. Some symptoms of major depressive disorder are lesser-known, like psychomotor retardation (moving very slowly), agitation (moving more quickly), feelings of worthlessness, and an inability to concentrate.

If depression has affected a man’s life for at least two weeks, dramatically reduced his ability to function, and cannot be attributed to another condition (like bipolar disorder or substance-induced depressive disorder), he may be diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)

Persistent depressive disorder, commonly known as dysthymia, is a low-grade, continuous depression. What differentiates this condition from other types of depression is its longevity; to qualify for this diagnosis, a man must display symptoms for at least two years.

Many of dysthymia’s symptoms overlap with those discussed above – in fact, the two conditions are often diagnosed comorbidly. Insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, low energy, changes in appetite, and feelings of hopelessness are common signifiers of persistent depressive disorder. However, while major depression can be likened to a sudden, steep drop in mood, you can think of men with dysthymia as having a generally lower baseline mood than their peers. Even if this condition may not seem as severe on paper, it still requires clinical intervention.

Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition

Men struggling with a chronic or serious medical condition often slip into depressive episodes. Those with hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, Huntingdon’s disease, and Cushing’s disease often experience an increased risk of depression. Sudden injuries and major health events, including a stroke or traumatic brain injury, may also catalyze a depressive episode.

In these instances, a man experiences a strong mood disturbance that impacts his social life, career, and relationships. This low mood lasts after he leaves a state of delirium and cannot be better explained by another condition. Like other types of depression, those with a depressive disorder due to another medical condition lose interest in their hobbies, become hopeless, and feel sad most of the time. In this case, medical professionals must refer the client to expert clinicians who can help him to address and overcome his depression.

Other Specified and Unspecified Depressive Disorders

“Other specified depressive disorder” is a broad category encompassing many other types of depression. Recurrent brief depression, short-duration depressive episode, and depressive episode with insufficient symptoms are all listed under this heading. They represent less severe versions of dysthymia and major depression, respectively.

Unspecified depressive disorder is a term used when a man’s symptoms impact his functioning at work, school, or home, but they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for other disorders mentioned in this blog. Usually, clinicians use this term as a placeholder while they are still determining which depressive disorder a person is experiencing.

Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder

Sometimes, depression is brought on by the substances a man puts in his body. When a persistent, prominent mood change occurs due to a medication, drug, or other substance, the DSM-5 TR categorizes it as a substance/medication-induced depressive disorder.

Men with this disorder lose interest in their daily activities soon after starting a drug or during withdrawal from it. They may feel sad, empty, irritated, or agitated. Their sleeping and eating schedules lose consistency. They may develop low self-esteem, complain of fatigue, and begin to seriously consider ending their own lives. According to the SA Federation for Mental Health, the substances most commonly associated with this diagnosis include:

  • Alcohol
  • Phencyclidine
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids
  • Amphetamines
  • Hallucinogens

Fortunately, once a man achieves sobriety, he will be freed from the effects of substance/medication-induced depressive disorder.

Find Freedom from All Types of Depression at The Last Resort Recovery

Depression is an unbearable burden, and for many men, it contributes significantly to their substance use. Whether you began to drink and use drugs to combat feelings of depression or developed a low mood due to substance misuse, we can help.

The Last Resort offers proven care for addiction and co-occurring depressive disorders. Our clinicians are equipped to provide the support, one-on-one treatment, and effective therapies needed to recover from a dual diagnosis.

Contact The Last Resort for more information about our programming.


Depression. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022, from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression

Depressive disorders: Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder. SA Federation for Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022, from https://www.safmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Depressive-disorders-Substance-medication-induced-depressive-disorder.pdf

Parker, G. F. (2014). DSM-5 and Psychotic and Mood Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 42(2), 182–190.