What is a major depression?

Major depressionMajor depressive disorder (DSM-IV) is the severe form of depression that corresponds to the depressive episode according to the current ICD-10 classification and endogenous depression in previous clinical language.

All terribly confusing, but unfortunately the terminology for depression is just that: confusing.

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Criteria of major depression

For the diagnosis of Major Depression (DSM-IV 296.xx), at least five of the following symptoms must occur for at least two weeks, with at least one of the first two symptoms being present:

Symptoms of Major Depression

  • Depressed mood on almost all days, for most of the day, reported by the sufferer himself (e.g., feeling sad or empty) or being watched by others (e.g., near tears).
  • Significantly reduced interest or enjoyment in all or almost all activities, on almost all days, for most of the day (either at the discretion of others or as observed by others).
  • Significant weight loss without diet or weight gain (more than 5% of body weight in one month); or decreased or increased appetite on almost all days.
  • Insomnia or increased sleep on almost all days.
  • Psychomotor restlessness or slowing down on almost all days (observable by others, not just the subjective sense of restlessness or slowing down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt feelings (which can also be delusional) on almost all days (not just self-blame or guilt because of being ill).
  • Decreased ability to think or focus or decreased decision-making ability on almost all days (either at the discretion of others or as observed by others).
  • Recurring thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurring suicidal ideations without a precise plan, actual suicide attempt, or accurate planning of a suicide.

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Author: Dr. Hubertus Glaser