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'Clinical depression': What does that mean?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/clinical-depression/AN01057
- With Mayo Clinic psychiatrist
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
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'Clinical depression': What does that mean?
What does the term "clinical depression" mean?
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Doctors use the term "clinical depression" to describe the more severe form of depression also known as "major depression" or "major depressive disorder."
For a diagnosis of clinical depression, you must meet the symptom criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is a guidebook used to diagnose mental illness in the United States.
Clinical depression symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day
- Slowed thinking or movement that others can see
- Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Loss of concentration or indecisiveness
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
To meet the criteria for clinical depression (called major depression in the DSM), you must have five or more of the above symptoms over a two-week period. At least one of the symptoms must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure. Keep in mind, some types of depression may not fit this strict definition.
Clinical depression causes noticeable disruptions in daily life, such as work, school or social activities. It can affect people of any age or sex, including children. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss (such as the death of a loved one), substance abuse or a medical condition such as a thyroid disorder.
Clinical depression symptoms usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two. Even severe depression symptoms usually improve with treatment.Next question
Junk food blues: Are depression and diet related?
- Major depressive disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2010.
- Major depression fact sheet. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Depression&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=88956. Accessed Jan. 18, 2010.