Major Depression:
Symptoms & Diagnosis

Who gets Major Depression?
Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr.

  • Depression affects people of all ages, genders, cultures, economic classes and personalities
  • Even outgoing and usually cheerful people can get depressed
  • Depression can cluster in families and likely has a genetic component
  • Many depressive episodes correlate with environmental stressors

Major Depression is a Syndrome
Dr. Karen Swartz, ADAP Founder

  • With the exception of suicidal ideation, the individual symptoms of Major Depression can be present even in healthy individuals for short periods of time
  • Major Depression is a group of symptoms that come together that last for some time, usually at least five symptoms for more than two weeks 

Major Depression vs. Normal Sadness
Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr.

  • Normal sadness is transient and a normal human emotion
  • Major Depression is a medical illness with a syndrome characterized by a constellation of signs and symptoms that come together and are sustained 
  • Major Depression can come and go in episodes
  • Patients can feel sad, anxious, irritable or emotionally numb in an episode of Major Depression 
  • Major Depression affects more than mood. It also includes a decrease in a sense of self worth, a change in hope for the future, and decreases in mental and physical energy 

Learn more about Major Depression symptoms