What is Depression?

Characterized by:

  • A low mood for most of the time for at least 2 weeks
  • Suicidal thoughts/plans/ideas, fantasizing about death and dying, fascination with death and dying
  • Tired and fatigued most of the time for at least 2 weeks
  • Excessively sleeping (hypsomnia) or having difficulty sleeping (insomnia) for at least 2 weeks
  • Eating less/eating more than usual
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain within a month
  • Not interested in things that used to interest them
  • Feeling bored all of the time for at least 2 weeks
  • Not interested in friends or family, isolation, avoidance of social situations
  • Feeling more irritable than normal, feeling irritable out of context for at least 2 weeks
  • Trouble concentrating for at least 2 weeks
  • Feeling “scattered” in their thinking/thought process
  • Crying for no reason/excessively crying
  • Feeling numb, empty or feeling nothing


Symptoms, and the diagnosis

Major Depressive Disorder

Severe depression that comes on suddenly and seems to have no external cause, or has had an external cause but symptoms have lasted longer than 3 months.

(Adjustment disorder occurs when symptoms experienced occur after a major life change, this lasts 1-3 months. After 3 months if symptoms are still being experienced than a diagnosis of Major Depression may occur)

Major Depression includes persistent feelings of sadness/despair, a loss of interest in previous sources of pleasure and physical symptoms such as headaches, more pain or trouble sleeping. This is diagnosed when someone experiences at least 1 Major Depressive Episode, along with at least 5 of the symptoms mentioned above for at least two weeks.