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'Severity' of Depression

Defining the 'degree' or 'severity' of depression ie if it is mild, moderate or severe, requires an extensive medical judgement that involves the number, type, and severity of the symptoms present.

The clinical presentations of depressive syndromes are varied and they can be subdivided in a number of different ways. In the following account, disorders are grouped by their severity. The account begins with a description of the clinical features of an episode of depression of moderate severity. Certain important clinical variants of htese and more severe disorders and then described. Finally, the special features of the less severe depressive disorders are outlined. What constitutes an 'episode' of clinical depression is inevitably a somewhat arbitrary concept. The symptoms listed for the diagnosis of 'depressive episode' in the ICD-10 classification and the various levels of severity are shown here. 'Major depressive episode' in DSM-IV gives the criteria for the major depressive episode.

Mild depression

Moderate depression

Severe Depression

Depression has a vicious downward spiral that sucks one in if one is not careful. The more depressed one feels, the less inclined one is to do anything positive and the deeper one sinks.

This is why the help of others is almost essential - but it has to be right sort of help or it can make matters worse. I have tried to explain the help that is of most benefit to sufferers in Depression help and Depression support (see section of interest).


For sometime now I have had several bouts of feeling "blue". I often wake up feeling exhausted. My dreams periodically upset me leaving me feeling down all day. I don't know why - I cannot recall what my dreams are about. After 11 years in a responsible postion at work (Full time) I often feel overburdened, taken for granted and "used". My voice doesn't appear to be heard. At home, I cook everynight for my partner and manage all household bills. I share my feelings but once again do not feel I am truly understood as things do not change. Lately I have felt very irratable and easily angered. I have no family to turn to though some good friends who would be horrified that I am writing this. "You're not depressed, just feeling sad". Everyone sees me as such a strong person yet I feel lost, critical of myself and others and loosing sight of the many joys in life. I feel fearful of a secure and fulfilling future. It seems more than just feeling sad to me when it consumes most of my waking hours. I can distract myself with alcohol and other people's problems but it comes back and I don't know how to deal with it? I've known my doctor for 20 years - I don;t think she would have any of it. I know I put on a brave face to most things. I'm finding it very hard to do so recently. I'd welcome your feedback as to my state of mental health. - beverley

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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