depression definition

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Although everyone feels sad or moody from time to time, true depression is persistent, and it can be severe.

Following the depression definition that experts use, you are depressed if you experience a down mood nearly every day, and the feeling lasts throughout the day. These feelings represent a change from the norm for you, and are severe enough to interfere with your work, social life, or education. You may have more trouble doing everyday activities like bathing, cooking, and shopping. In its most severe state, depression can make you feel as though you no longer want to live.

Other criteria that fall within the depression definition include an increase or decrease in appetite, which may lead to weight gain or loss. You may have more trouble falling asleep, or sleep more than usual. Another characteristic is a change in activity level, an increase in fatigue, listlessness, or agitation. Additional symptoms that fall within the depression definition include more difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with death.

To qualify for a depression diagnosis, you need to have at least five of these nine symptoms: depressed mood, decreased interest in activities, weight change, change in sleep, change in activity, loss of energy, feelings of guilt/worthlessness, trouble concentrating, and suicidal thoughts or plans?almost every day. People who meet the depression definition should see a health care provider for screening. The doctor can look for other conditions that can mimic depression, such as a medical illness or the use of certain drugs. Treatment with antidepressant medication, talk therapy, or a combination of medicine and counseling can alleviate depression symptoms. Some people will need long-term treatment to stay well.

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