Types of Depression

There are many different types of depression, some of which are hard to define and understand. The types will be explained below to give a general understanding of the different forms depression and how they affect someone. These types of depression include:

Clinical Depression

This is commonly used to describe depression that is a type of illness, not a normal or temporary mood caused by life events of grieving.

Depressive episode

This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis, which may be a ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ episode.

Recurrent depressive disorder

Your doctor may use this term if you have had at least 2 depressive episodes.


This may be diagnosed if you felt low for several years but you don’t have recurrent depressive disorder.

Reactive depression

If caused by a stressful event, your doctor may describe this as a reactive episode.

Bipolar disorder

This is a different illness to depression with people suffering highs (mania) and lows (depression).

Post-natal depression

A common illness affecting about 1 in 10 women who have a baby.

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 sleep more rather than less.

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