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Depression is characterized both biological or vegetative symptoms and emotional symptoms.

The current diagnostic criteria for persistent or chronic depression are listed below.

  • Depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not.
  • Presences of two (or more) of the following:
  1. Poor appetite or overeating.
  2. Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much.)
  3. Low energy or fatigue.
  4. Low self-esteem.
  5. Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions.
  6. Feelings of hopelessness.
  • During the 2-year period of the disturbance, the person has never been without the symptoms, for more than 2 months at a time.
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

These symptoms can be accompanied by anxious distress (feeling keyed up or tense, feeling unusually restless, difficulty concentrating because of worry, fear that something awful may happen, or feeling that they might lose control or herself.

Depression can also be brief or of short duration.

Depression can also show up as melancholy. Symptoms are loss of pleasure in all, or almost all activities, lack of reactivity to usually pleasurable stimuli (you don’t feel better, even temporarily, when something good happens), depressed mood characterized by profound despondency, despair, and/or moroseness or by empty mood. Depression can also be worse in the morning, or difficulty staying asleep — early morning awakening, loss of appetite or weight loss, and excessive guilt.