Clinical Depression Symptoms

clinical depression symptomsWhat are “clinical depression symptoms”? And what makes a depression symptom ‘clinical’?

First of all, the word clinical – in this context – refers to a symptom directly observed in a medical setting (a clinic)… by a trained medical professional (a  clinician).

Essentially, a ‘clinical depression symptom’ equates to a ‘regular’ depression symptom…

The only difference lies in who is doing the observing.

Defining depression is a slippery business.

The textbook for diagnosing depression is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association in Washington, D.C. The latest edition, the DSM-IV, a collaborative effort of hundreds of individuals, attempts to provide a logical, orderly framework to aid in the diagnosis of mental disorders.

Their definition of a Major Depressive Episode consists of the following clinical depression symptoms:

Clinical Depression Symptoms

Points to keep in mind:

1. These depression symptoms must cause clinically important distress or impair work, social or personal functioning.

2. At least five of the following symptoms must be present in the same 2 weeksnearly every day, as noted by the patient or by others, and are a definite change from usual functioning.

3. Additionally, either depressed mood or decreased interest or pleasure must be one of the five.

  • (1) Depressed mood (or irritable mood if a child or adolescent).
  • (2) Decreased interest or pleasure.
  • (3) Significant weight loss or weight gain when not dieting or appetite is markedly decreased or increased.
  • (4) Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleep).
  • (5) Psychomotor agitation or retardation.
  • (6) Fatigue or loss of energy.
  • (7) Feelings of worthless or excessive or inappropriate guilt. This “negative thinking” usually causes a marked lowering of self-esteem and self-confidence with increased thoughts of pessimism, hopelessness, and helplessness.
  • (8) Diminished ability to think or concentrate. Marked forgetfulness often accompanies this disorder.
  • (9) Recurrent thoughts about death, recurrent thoughts of suicide (with or without a plan) or has made a suicide attempt. (The symptom most highly correlated with suicidal behavior in depression is hopelessness.)

By definition, Major Depressive Disorder cannot be due to:

1. Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition (physical illness).

2. Substance-Induced Mood Disorder (alcohol, medication, or other drug use.

3. Bereavement (normal reaction to the death of a loved one).

4. Bipolar Disorder.

5. Mood-incongruent psychosis (e.g., Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

Obviously many problems exist with the nine clinical depression symptoms as outlined above, and indeed the entire book is admittedly a ‘work in progress’.

In addition to reading this list of clinical depression symptoms, it’s also important to understand the underlying causes that would lead someone to such a painful place.

I almost feel guilty because my life has become so enjoyable and so easy. Especially since I remember how miserable I used to be.

Basically it comes down to making one slight shift in what you do everyday, and you can watch in amazement as your life slowly begins to start working out in almost every way.

It’s such an important change that I’ve written a complete e-book about it. And I’d like to give you a copy for free. All you have to do is write your first name and primary email address into the space below, and you’ll be receiving a link to download the e-book right away.

Free e-book reveals exactly what to do right now, starting today, to feel better.