Various Degrees of Depression

Different stages of depression

Mild Depression
There is confusion in many people’s minds about what is known in psychiatry and psychology as “understandable misery” (sadness with an identifiable cause) and mild depression. There is also much confusion, even these days, between being spineless and mild depression. It is nearly 100 years since World War 1 when shell-shocked soldiers were shot, but old attitudes persist. Depression was not a recognized illness then. It is known now that a situation over which you have no control and cannot influence significantly increases the chances of depression. Mild depression falls into the categories of Levels 4 and 3 of the classification of psychiatric disorders.

Disorders Chart

Level 1 – Psychosis

Mode of intense
sadness and misery. Contact with reality is distorted.

Level 2 – Neurosis

Extreme form of
misery going beyond what would be regarded as normal for the

Level 3 – Personality disorder

who stands out from the average person by virtue of one or two
character traits.

Level 4 – Normal reaction

illness or anxiety neurosis will not clear, even if the trigger is

Moderate Depression
At this level, the symptoms intensify and it becomes increasingly difficult to function normally at home and at work. Depression at this level is categorized as neurosis: Level 2 in the chart above.

Severe Depression
The sufferer loses touch with reality and cannot function normally. This may come into the category of psychosis, Level 1 in the chart, but you can be severely depressed without being psychotic.

Reactive and Endogenous Depression
Depression used to be classified according to perceived origin. Reactive depression described a depression triggered by an external event, such as bereavement or divorce. Endogenous depression described low mod emanating from within and with no readily discernible cause. These distinctions are gradually being discarded because they are imprecise. The terms now in use are Major Depressive Disorder, Mood Disorder, Substance-induced Mood Disorder, Mood Disorder with Psychotic Features and Dysthymic Disorder.

Key Facts: Many of us suffer with mild depression, which typically recurs. Depression symptoms vary considerably from one person to another, with some being more noticeable than others and some being absent altogether. Do see your doctor if you experience apathy, boredom, fatigue, a sense of “letting go” and habitually wake up in the middle of the night full of fear and dread, unable to get back to sleep.