Definition of Depression

What is the definition of depression?

The word “depression” actually has numerous meanings under different subject areas, including economics, geography and meteorology. Of course, here, we are concerned with its definition under the field of psychology and psychiatry.

A few definitions from a few sources are quoted below. Note that not all sources immediately or directly define depression as an “illness”. MedicineNet.com is, perhaps not surprisingly, one which does.

Common Elements, Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Under various definitions, these are some of the common elements of depression:

  • Prolonged sadness, low mood, discouragement, gloom and / or despair.
  • Feeling of pessimism and / or hopelessness.
  • Feeling of lowered self-esteem and / or worthlessness.
  • Feeling of inadequacy and / or helplessness.
  • Feeling of guilt.
  • Finding difficulty in concentrating.
  • Loss of interest in life, activities and pleasures.
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping; in some cases, there may be sleepiness instead.
  • Loss of appetite; in some cases, there may be overeating instead.
  • Decreased energy; fatigue.
  • Inactivity.
  • In serious cases, there may be suicidal thoughts.

    Definition of Depression from the World Health Organization (WHO)

    “Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, a tragic fatality associated with the loss of about 850 000 thousand lives every year.”

    Definition of Depression from Wikipedia.org

    “In the fields of psychology and psychiatry, the terms depression or depressed refer to both expected and pathologically chronic or severe levels of sadness, perceived helplessness, loss of interest or pleasure, and other related emotions and behaviours.

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states that a depressed mood is often reported as feeling depressed, sad, helpless, and hopeless. In traditional colloquy, "depressed" is often synonymous with "sad," but both clinical and non-clinical depression can also refer to a conglomeration of more than one feeling.”

    Definition of Depression from Encyclopedia.com

    “Mental states characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest, experienced by most individuals. They are deemed clinical (that is a mental illness) if they are persistent, severe, and out of proportion to any identifiable precipitant. The term depression entered psychiatric classification primarily as a symptom of melancholia (the predecessor to depression) and has only featured as a diagnostic label since the end of the nineteenth century (initially in the term manic depression).”

    A short version from them:

    “A psychological condition with feelings of sadness, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and inability to concentrate.”

    Definition of Depression from MedicineNet.com

    “An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression.”






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    Useful Depression Resources

  • The "Joy Equation" helps to banish depression and bad moods, and to bring simple happiness back into your life.

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    Useful Depression Resources

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