Depression Symptoms

According to the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a major depression is marked by a combination of symptoms that occur together, and last for at least two weeks without significant improvement.


Symptoms from at least five of the following categories must be present for a major depression, although even a few of the symptom clusters are indicators of a depression, but perhaps not a major depression.

--Persistent depressed, sad, anxious, or empty mood

--Feeling worthless, helpless, or experiencing excessive or inappropriate guilt
--Hopeless about the future, excessive pessimistic feelings
--Loss of interest and pleasure in your usual activities
--Decreased energy and chronic fatigue
--Loss of memory, difficulty making decisions or concentrating
--Irritability or restlessness or agitation
--Sleep disturbances, either difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
--Loss of appetite and interest in food, or overeating, with weight gain
--Recurring thoughts of death, or suicidal thoughts or actions

Other symptoms that are not necessarily DSM specific criteria include, but are not limited to: work problems such as absenteeism, decreased production, lack of concern about work and accidents at work.

More symptoms to look for are:


--decreased need for sleep

--racing thoughts

--grandiose notions

--easily distracted


And of course alcohol and drug abuse.  Dr. Nathan S. Kline(1) once remarked that:


"The problems of alcoholism and drug addiction have strong links to depression. The search for highs may often begin as a flight from lows."

If you think you are depressed, please avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication with questionable and sometimes dangerous 'alternative' solutions.  Consult with your doctor and discuss all possible solutions including alternative answers that have solid documentation.


(1) Dr. Kline may not be a well-known person to most but, his story is interesting.  Click here to learn more about Dr. Kline.




Exciting News!  A significant study (below) shows that for depressed patients achieving stable or unstable clinical remission, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (meditation) offers protection against relapse/recurrence on a par with that of maintenance antidepressant pharmacotherapy.


Study Title:

Antidepressant Monotherapy vs Sequential Pharmacotherapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, or Placebo, for Relapse Prophylaxis in Recurrent Depression



Zindel V. Segal, PhD; Peter Bieling, PhD; Trevor Young, MD; Glenda MacQueen, MD; Robert Cooke, MD; Lawrence Martin, MD; Richard Bloch, MA; Robert D. Levitan, MD

Found in:

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(12):1256-1264. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.168


Date of last update: March 9, 2011

Questions or Comments?