Studies show that nearly every fourth person will suffer from depression at least once in their lives.

It is suggested that depression will be a leading cause for disability by 2020. Despite this depression is often not recognised and, consequently, not treated.

There are two main areas explaining the lack of awareness of depressive disorders – one is the prevalent public attitude towards mental illness as being embarrassing and stigmatizing; and second – a lack of understanding of depression.

A frequent reason for people not looking for help is the believe that depressed mood is a normal response to unpleasant life events.


Unhappiness is not a pathological condition and it is a part of the usual human response to adversity.

Unhappiness is usually proportionate in intensity to the stressors. It lasts as long as the stress lasts and quickly subsides as the precipitating factor improves.

If symptoms like depressive ones such as insomnia, lack of appetite, etc., occur they are short lived and less severe.

Thoughts of death or suicide are not associated with normal sadness.

Normal sadness doesn’t affect the level of general functioning.


According to The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of mental sickness Major Depression is defined as follow:

  1. Five or more of following symptoms have been present for minimum of 2 weeks and one of those is either 1 or 2:
  2. Depressed mood – feeling sad, empty, hopeless most of the day, nearly every day.
  3. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  4. Significant weight loss/ gain corresponding with decreased or increased appetite.
  5. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
  6. Psychomotor retardation or agitation
  7. Fatigue or lack of energy nearly every day
  8. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, low confidence and self-esteem
  9. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  10. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
  11. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  12. The episode is not contributed to physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.

Depression is usually an intermittent condition, with recurring episodes, with different length and severity, and different levels of impairment and response to treatment.

No everyone who experiences depression fulfils the criteria for Major Depressive Episode. Other presentations of depression are Dysthymia, Recurrent Brief Depression, Bipolar Type Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Your doctor will classify the type.

The use of scales for assessment of our emotional conditions is an easy and confident way to clarify the presence of depression for yourself.

The attached self-rating scale created by Zung  is a useful one.

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