Depression is a serious mental health condition that can range from mild to severe. Mild depression, also known as dysthymia, is characterized by feelings of sadness, low self-esteem, and difficulty concentrating. Moderate depression is more severe and can cause problems in work and family life. Severe depression is the most serious form of the disorder and can lead to suicidal thoughts.
The symptoms of mild and moderate depression are similar, but the severity of the symptoms is greater in moderate depression. People with mild depression may experience feelings of discouragement, low self-esteem, problems with concentration, reduced productivity, increased sensitivity, and excessive worry. Those with moderate depression may experience all of these symptoms as well as a decrease in their ability to carry out normal daily activities. The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the DSM-5 criteria.
This criteria includes both the main symptoms of depression as well as related symptoms. A discriminant analysis was conducted to examine whether the DSM-5 criteria accurately distinguished between non-depressed, moderately depressed, and severely depressed groups as defined by the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD). The results showed that depressed mood was the most reliable DSM-5 symptom for discriminating the moderately depressed group from the non-depressed group. Depression assessment scales and questionnaires provide ranges that are proposed to describe the different severity of depression.
If someone has minor depressive symptoms, it is important to determine if this directly follows an episode of major depression. Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have peripartum depression. When it comes to treatment for moderate and severe major depressive disorder, traditional antidepressants are not always recommended as first-line treatments for bipolar depression because there is no evidence that these drugs are more useful than a placebo for treating depression in people with bipolar disorder. However, antidepressant medications may be recommended for those with moderate depression, with or without psychological treatment.
For those with severe depression, medication may be prescribed along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and lifestyle changes. Reaching out to friends and loved ones can also help reduce feelings of depression. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are people who care about you and want to help.