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what is depression?

3 minutes

Understanding Depression: Symptoms and SeverityThe term "depression" is used in various ways...

Understanding Depression: Symptoms and Severity

The term "depression" is used in various ways, and while everyone can experience sadness when faced with adversity, everyday sadness differs from clinical depression. Short-term depressed moods are often manageable and resolve without treatment.

Clinical depression, on the other hand, persists for a minimum of two weeks and profoundly impacts a person's behaviour, physical health, and mental well-being. It can disrupt one's ability to work and maintain fulfilling personal relationships. Depression is a common yet severe condition that may also be recurrent, with individuals recovering but experiencing another episode later.

Symptoms of Depression

The World Health Organisation (WHO) specifies that clinical depression typically exhibits at least two of the following symptoms for a minimum of two weeks:

  • An enduring, unusually sad mood
  • Lack of enjoyment and interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Fatigue and a sense of constant tiredness

Additional symptoms of depression may include:

  • Loss of self-confidence or low self-esteem
  • Feelings of guilt, even when not at fault
  • Suicidal thoughts or a desire to be dead
  • Gloomy and pessimistic outlook on the future
  • Challenges with sleep, either experiencing insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Disinterest in food or overeating, leading to either weight loss or weight gain

The number of symptoms experienced depends on the severity of the depression:

  • Mild depression: At least four of the ten symptoms within the past two weeks
  • Moderate depression: Five to seven of the ten symptoms within the past two weeks
  • Severe depression: A presence of at least eight out of the ten symptoms within the past two weeks
Seeking Help for Depression

If you or someone you know is grappling with depression or any mental health concerns, there are various helpful resources and organisations available to provide support. Don't hesitate to reach out for assistance.

Source: MHFA England