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Depression

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Updated January 26, 2009

Definition:

The following are the symptoms of depression (also called a major depressive episode) as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV):

  1. Depressed mood for almost every day and for the majority of the day.
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
  3. Considerable weight loss or weight gain.
  4. Difficulties falling asleep or sleeping too much.
  5. Feeling constantly on edge and restless or lethargic and "slowed down."
  6. Feeling worthless and/or guilty.
  7. Difficulties concentrating and/or making decisions.
  8. Thoughts of ending one's own life.

According to the DSM-IV, to be diagnosed with a major depressive episode, a person must experience 5 of these symptoms all within the same 2-week (or longer) period.

Depression is different from just feeling unhappy or sad. Everyone feels sad from time to time. However, depression is more intense, lasts longer, and has a large negative impact on a person's life.

Also Known As: Depressive Episode, Major Depressive Episode
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