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What is major/clinical depression?

To distinguish your condition as major depression, one of your symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest; five or more of the following symptoms must be present for most of the day every day or nearly every day for at least two weeks:

  • Depressed mood for most of the day
  • Decreased pleasure in normal activities
  • Difficulty sleeping or significantly increased need for sleep
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessnessLow energy level
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

Minor depression is similar to major depression, except that you experience fewer than five of the listed symptoms.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness or loss of interest in daily activities. To be diagnosed as clinically depressed, a person must have some of the following symptoms: significant weight gain or loss, significant change in sleep patterns, feelings of restlessness or slowed down, fatigued all the time, worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, hopelessness, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. 

When a combination of these symptoms is experienced for two weeks or more, it may indicate the presence of a clinical depression. The negative feelings associated with depression may last weeks, months, or even years. Afflicted people are usually treated with antidepressant medication, psychosocial therapy, or a combination of the two. Some self-care (exercise, relaxation techniques, and nutritional supplements) and alternative treatments such as acupuncture may be helpful in alleviating depressive illness as well.

Continue Learning about Clinical/Major Depression

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.