Depression - What are the different types of depression?
What are the different types of depression?
You might have heard a number of terms used to describe depression. In this section, we explain what some of these terms mean.
Clinical depression is a common term but it is not a diagnosis. It just means that a doctor has given you a diagnosis.
Your doctor might say that you are going through a 'depressive episode'. This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis. They may say that you are going through a 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe' episode.
Recurrent depressive disorder
If you have had at least two depressive episodes, your doctor might say that you have recurrent depressive disorder. They may say that your current 'episode' is 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe'.
If your doctor thinks that your depression was caused by stressful events in your life, they may say that it is reactive.
Your doctor might diagnose you with dysthymia if you have felt low for several years but you don’t have recurrent depressive disorder.
Manic depression is the old name for bipolar disorder. It is a different illness to depression. People with this illness have highs (mania) and lows (depression).
If you are very depressed, you may get hallucinations or delusions. This means you hear, see or believe things that aren't real. This is called psychosis. You might start to hear voices that say that you are worthless and that things will never improve, or you may start to believe that someone is poisoning your food.
Post-natal depression is a common illness which affects about 1 in 10 women who have had a baby. You may get symptoms that are similar to those in other types of depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
This type of depression affects you at the same time of year, usually in the winter. The symptoms are similar to depression but you may sleep more rather than less. You might also eat more carbohydrates like chocolate, cakes and bread.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays