KJ Green

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Depression (clinically referred to as Major Depressive Disorder) is identified fundamentally by the presence of either a depressed mood—also characterized as feeling sad, hopeless, or discouraged—and/or a loss of interest or pleasure. During any 12-month period in the United States, approximately 7% of the population (i.e., over 22 million people in 2015) has depression that meets clinical diagnostic criteria. Depression exists only if the below symptoms have been present for at least 2 weeks.


Clinical Diagnostic Criteria

Depression
(Major Depressive Disorder)

  1. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
    1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
    2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation).
    3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)
    4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
    5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings or restlessness or being slowed down).
    6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
    7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
    8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
    9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicidal attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
  2. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
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