What is Depression?

It is a common and serious mood disorder. Those who suffer from depression experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Aside from the emotional problems caused by depression, individuals can also present with a physical symptoms such as chronic pain or digestive issues.

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria

The DSM-5 outlines the following criteria to make a diagnosis of depression. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

  1. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  2. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  3. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  4. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  5. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  6. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  7. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition.

If you may find yourself experiencing five or more symptoms above during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure, you should consider the idea to seek support.