What Does Severe Level of Depression Mean?

Severe depression is a serious mental health condition characterized by intense and persistent feelings of sadness. Learn more about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for severe depression.

What Does Severe Level of Depression Mean?

Severe depression is a serious mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a person's life. It is characterized by intense and persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty performing everyday tasks. Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is the most severe form of depression and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. The severity of depression can range from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe and persistent depression.

It is important to note that depression caused by a loss or medical condition is not the same as major depressive disorder. Symptoms of severe depression can include sleep disorders, changes in appetite, lack of concentration or memory, and loss of interest in sex. When diagnosing major depressive disorder, it is usually classified by the degree of severity (mild, moderate or severe), as well as whether or not there are psychotic characteristics or a seasonal pattern. The DSM-5 criteria for distinguishing moderate from severe depression includes non-somatic factors such as the presence of stressors, often situations of loss (death, economic reversal, separation, illness, etc.), alteration of autonomic activity and reactivity in depression revealed by measuring heart rate variability during rest and working conditions.

Treatment for moderately severe depression typically involves the use of antidepressants such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), atypical antidepressants, and tricyclic antidepressants. In addition to medication, therapy can also be beneficial in helping people manage their symptoms. Hosted by editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares what it means to have “existential depression” with Melissa & Doug co-founder Melissa Bernstein. It is important to remember that depressive symptoms can often make caring for yourself more difficult.

However, with the right treatment plan and support system in place, it is possible to manage the symptoms of severe depression and lead a fulfilling life.

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