What Is Moderate Depression? - Definition, Symptoms & Treatment

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  • 0:00 What Is Depression?
  • 1:05 Severity And Symptoms
  • 3:40 Treatment
  • 4:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that depression affects about 19 million individuals in the United States? Learn more about moderate depression, its symptoms, and treatment.

What is Depression?

Everyone gets sad once in a while. Maybe you've felt sadness after losing a loved one, or maybe you've felt sad because someone hurt your feelings. Regardless, these feelings of sadness were just temporary and did not prevent you from carrying out your normal daily functions. You understood that you would not be sad forever, and eventually your mood began to improve.

Individuals who are depressed have overwhelming feelings of sadness.
Sad girl

For depressed individuals, this is not necessarily the case. Their feelings of sadness begin to interfere with their daily functioning, work, and even relationships. They don't see an end to the sadness. So what exactly is depression?

Depression is a type of mood disorder. Mood disorders are mental disorders characterized by persistent elevation or lowering of a person's emotional state, or mood.

Depression has two main features: Persistent feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that last for most of the day and decreased interest or pleasure in most activities.

It is estimated that in any given year, about 19 million Americans suffer from depression. Women are twice as likely to be depressed as men. About 80% of depressed individuals reported experiencing some functional impairment due to their depression. So what then is moderate depression?

Severity and Symptoms

Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the symptoms. Determining the severity of the depression relies heavily on the clinical judgment of the psychologist or psychiatrist that is treating the depressed individual. Usually, only individuals with severe depression are diagnosed with major depression, or major depressive disorder.

In order to receive a diagnosis of major depression, a person must exhibit at least 5 of 9 of the following symptoms during the same 2-week period:

1. Depressed mood or irritability that lasts most of the day, every day

2. Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities that lasts most of each day

3. Significant weight loss or weight gain, as indicated by a 5% change in weight

4. Sleeping problems (either too much or too little sleep)

5. Change in motor activity

6. Fatigue or lack of energy

7. Persistent feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

8. Trouble concentrating

9. Recurrent suicidal thoughts or behavior

Moderate depression is categorized by depressed mood or irritability for most of the day and a lack of interest or pleasure in most activities. However, individuals with moderate depression do not meet the minimum requirement of 5 of the 9 symptoms. Furthermore, they may not exhibit all of the symptoms within the same 2-week period. For example, during a 2-week period an individual with moderate depression may be irritable and have trouble focusing at work, while the third week they may feel fatigued and have sleeping problems.

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