What are the main types of depression?
Depression is a mental health condition that impacts many individuals throughout the United Kingdom. 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.
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 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 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.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 4 - 10% of the population in England alone will suffer from depression during their lifetime. The World Health Organisation reports that, globally, an estimated 350 million people are suffering from depression, and that it is one of the main types of disability throughout the world.
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
Signs and symptoms of depression
The symptoms of depression can present themselves differently from one person to the next. Similarly, depending on the particular type of depression that a person is suffering from, the symptoms experienced will vary. Examples of the symptoms that may be experienced by an individual who is suffering from a form of depression can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- No longer engaging in activities that were once enjoyed
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Decline in academic or occupational performance
- Frequent absences from work or school
- Inability to upkeep day-to-day tasks
- Disturbed sleep
- Diminished appetite
- Low energy/excessive fatigue
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Psychomotor agitation (being restless or unable to sit still)
- Psychomotor retardation (slowing of movements)
- Change in physical appearance/no longer paying attention to grooming or hygiene
- Poor concentration capabilities
- Difficulty making decisions
- Inability to use proper judgment
- Suicidal thoughts
- Irritable mood
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Experiencing unwarranted guilt
- No longer demonstrating an interest in things or activities that one was previously interested in
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