The symptoms of depression reach clinical proportions when there is a lot of personal pain and an interference with day-to-day functioning. A depression may be mild, moderate, or severe. It can last a few days or for years. However, it always includes a sad, empty, and/or irritable mood.
A number of factors play into the severity and type of depression:
- number of symptoms
- duration of symptoms
- intensity of symptoms
- presence of another kind of emotional problem
- presumed etiology
Current depressive classifications come from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition DSM-5 (2013), commonly called the DSM-5.There are types of depression with very specfic criteria, such as Major Depressive Disorder, the most severe, and Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia), with fewer symptoms but chronic over at least two years. In addition, there are two other clearly defined depressions - Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, which repeatedly occurs in the premenstrual phase and remits around the onset of menses, and Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood with its onset soon after an identifiable stressor and remittence at least 6 months after the stressor ends. Then, there are the many depressions that don't meet exactly the specifications needed for the episodes just mentioned but still qualify as clinical depressions and and fall into Other Specified and Unspecified Depressive Disorders.
Mood disorders are usually unipolar; that is, depression alone. However,there are also bipolar disorders, wherein there are depressive episodes but also distinct periods of markedly elevated mood that can take the forms of mania or its somewhat lesser version, hypomania.
Another complicating factor, occurring with some frequency, is anxiety. When high levels of anxiety accompany depression, the episode may last longer and the treatment becomes more complicated. Both the depression and anxiety will need attention.
The National Institute of Mental; Health estimated that in a 12 month period, 10 % of the adult population has some kind of depressive disorder, and 6.7% can be diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder. Lu (2015) asserted that depression is the most common emotional problem and can be persistent in its hold. Up to 80% of people with a Major Depressive Disorder may relapse. Medications, even when they work, can become less effective over time.
Indeed, depression is prevalent and depressive disorders need therapy. If you believe yourself to be in need of treatment, please contact me or, better yet, call my office at 317-872-4158, ext. 0.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed DSM-5. Washington DC: Author.
Lu, S. (2015). Mindfulness holds promise for treating depression. Monitor on Psychology, 46(3), 50-54.