What is Depression?
Depression, known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a common and very serious mood disorder. If you suffer from depression, you often experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lose interest in activities you once enjoyed participating in.
Beyond emotional symptoms, depression can cause physical, mental, and social problems.
DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), or DSM-5, outlines 8 criteria that a mental health professional will use to make a diagnosis of depression. A patient must be experiencing at least five or more of the following symptoms during the same two week period and one of the symptoms should be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure.
These 8 criteria are as follows:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
- Recurrent thoughts of death, recurring suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
Your mental health professional will provide a diagnosis of depression if five or more symptoms cause you significant distress or impairment in core areas of your functioning. These symptoms must also not be as a result of substance abuse or other medical conditions.
Although Major Depressive Disorder can be treated, there is no “cure.” Remission is the goal of treatment by trained and licensed professionals. Remission varies from person to person. Some people may have few to no symptoms remaining, while others may still experience some of the symptoms outlined in the DSM-5 above.
If you need help, there is hope! Reach out to one of our licensed depression treatment mental health professionals.