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Lesson 2.1 Symptoms of Depression

Welcome to the second class in our first chapter of “Depression Essentials Series”. Our last lesson was on general background of depression mainly on the prevalence of depression. Now, today we are going to dive into the core essentials: the symptoms of depression.

Without further ado, fellow students, Lesson 2 begins

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

What is it like to experience depression? What are its symptoms? Depression is more than just feeling sad, or having a rough patch, it changes how you function day-to-day. Although people going through an episode of depression may not experience all the symptoms, here are the most common symptoms of depression according to the Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and Depressive Episodes:

Zoom in on your phones to get a better look at these words associated with depression

Symptom Differences in Men and Women

Depression can happen differently in men and women, even though they share the common signs and symptoms. By understanding the differences between depression and men and women, it can help those who are suffering. Below are charts taken from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, giving the difference in symptoms for men and women, and also some common symptoms they both share:

A New Perspective: Teenage Depression

According to the World Health Organization, “Worldwide 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. Neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people in all regions.” [8] Although the signs and symptoms can be seen clearly in older ages, sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether teenagers are experiencing depression, or if it is behavior that is associated with teenage behavior.

From the official Help Guide for Parents to Teenage Depression, they advise: “A certain amount of moodiness and acting out is normal for the course with teens. But persistent changes in personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem. If you’re unsure if your child is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been going on, how severe they are, and how different your child is acting from his or her usual self. Hormones and stress can explain the occasional bout of teenage angst—but not continuous and unrelenting unhappiness lethargy, or irritability.”

Severity of Depression Symptoms

Not all depression episodes are the same, so it is important to keep in mind that two people going through the same illness may experience different levels of severity in their symptoms.

The symptoms of depression are categorized into three levels: Mild, Moderate, and Severe. To understand what these mean, we will use a chart taken from the Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and Depressive Episodes:

What do we mean by moderate and severe impairment?

The symptoms that we experience with depression have an impact on our daily lives. How severe our symptoms are can also show how much it can affect the quality of our social life, our personal life, and also our relationships with ourselves.

Sometimes Depression Can Look Different but Similar

The circles above represent other conditions that can share the same symptoms as depression. It is important to know that depression can even happen at the same time as these conditions as well, and is equally as important to pay attention to.

Knowing that there are different levels of severity of symptoms in depression can help us all have a better understanding of why the same treatment can work differently for two people who are experiencing the same mental illness. Just because one treatment was effective for one person may not be the same for the other person, because they can be going through a different level of severity when it comes to depression.

Now that we know about the different levels of symptoms in depression, join us next class where we will talk about all of the different causes of depression. Class dismissed!

You can always come back to our class by clicking on “Learning-Classroom”, or go to our website for the archives under “Columns-Classroom”







  6. Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and Depressive Episodes

  7. University of Washington, PSychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

  8. World Health Organization

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