Types of depression

Depression is a mental health condition that impacts many individuals throughout the UK. Whilst sadness is an emotion that everyone experiences from time-to-time, there are unfortunately some individuals who experience such overwhelming feelings of sadness that it affects their ability to function appropriately on a daily basis.

There are many different types of depression, which are classified based on the types of symptoms that a person is experiencing. Examples of these different types are described below.

Severe depression

If you have lost the capacity to experience joy, no longer find pleasure in things that were once of interest to you, or are experiencing significant fatigue after only minimal effort, you are likely suffering from severe depression.

Those with severe depression find it difficult, if not impossible, to engage in everyday tasks, and often experience profound feelings of worthlessness and a deteriorated sense of self-esteem. There can also be a loss in appetite and subsequent fluctuations in weight. If you are suffering from severe depression, you will see little variance in your lowered mood each day, resulting in marked changes in overall functioning.

Severe depression with psychotic symptoms

Severe depression with psychotic symptoms is the existence of depression in combination with hallucinations and/or delusional thinking. Hallucinations refer to the experiencing of sensations that do not truly exist, such as seeing things that are not there or hearing voices that are not real. Delusions are characterised by false beliefs that a person maintains even after being provided with evidence to the contrary.

Moderately severe depression

If you are suffering from moderately severe depression, you will experience symptoms that are similar to those experienced by individuals with severe depression, but they will likely be less distinct. You may experience minor improvements in your distress from one day to the next, but ultimately your functioning will continue to be hindered.

Bipolar depression

Bipolar depression has symptoms similar to that of severe depression, yet also includes symptoms of elation, euphoria, heightened energy and grandiose thinking, which is indicative of a manic episode.


If you are suffering from dysthymia, you will experience chronic periods of depressive mood that have lasted for several years, yet symptoms will not be severe enough to cause profound disturbances in your ability to function.

Recurrent depression

Recurrent depression will likely be diagnosed if you are experiencing repeated episodes of depression, but do not have a history of independent episodes of heightened energy or mood elevation that would be suggestive of the manic episodes that are part of bipolar depression.

Causes and risk factors of depression

There are a number of factors that may cause you to be more susceptible to suffering from a form of depression. Research has demonstrated that your genetic history may play a significant role, as those who have a first-degree relative who suffers from a form of depression often suffer from similar symptoms at a greater rate, than those who do not possess the same genetic background.

Furthermore, there are certain environmental factors that can increase your susceptibility for developing the symptoms of depression. Being subjected to certain adverse circumstances, experiencing significant loss, or suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse can make you more vulnerable to developing depressive symptoms.

Summary of risk factors for depression:

  • Family history of depression or other mental illness
  • Personal history of prior mental illness, such as an anxiety disorder
  • Experiencing stressful life events
  • Suffering from disabling or chronic medical conditions
  • Having adverse experiences during one’s childhood
  • Being the victim of abuse and/or neglect

    Effects of depression

    If you are suffering from any type of depression and do not receive treatment, you are susceptible to experiencing further detrimental effects. Without treatment, it is possible that your symptoms may worsen or that you will develop symptoms of other types of mental health concerns. You may struggle to perform occupationally or academically, which can negatively impact your health further. You may also find that important relationships have become distant, leaving you feeling somewhat isolated from the world around you.

    It is important to recognise that depression is treatable, and further negative effects can be prevented. By receiving the appropriate support and engaging in available therapeutic interventions, you can live a happier and more fulfilled life.

    For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding types of depression, signs and symptoms please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here