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Major Depressive Disorder


You may be experiencing major depression if you are suffering either depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities and can identify yourself in the appropriate number of symptoms below. Five or more of the following symptoms have been present for two weeks in a row and are different than your usual functioning. You must have at least one of the symptoms be depressed mood or loss of pleasure or interest. Please don’t include symptoms that are clearly the result of a medical condition.

  • Feeling depressed for most of the day, almost every day as evidenced by feeling sad, empty or hopeless or someone is noticing these symptoms (he/she seems sad, tearful).
  • Negative changes in your level of interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities for most of your day, most days in the week.
  • Decrease in your appetite or 5% or more in weight gain or loss without intention to gain or lose.
  • Difficulty getting to sleep or sleeping too much.
  • Experiencing being agitation or slowed down in your body and movements that is also seen by others.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt nearly every day that people who care about you do not would not agree with.
  • Decreased ability to think, decreased concentration, difficulty making decisions nearly every day as supported by you and others.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just a fear od dying), recurrent suicidal thoughts without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

The symptoms that you are experiencing cause a great deal of distress and are significantly interfering with your ability to function socially at work or school or in other important areas of functioning.

The episode is not better explained as a response to a major loss, grief, financial ruin or losses from a major disaster or medical illness or disability.

The occurrence of the depression is not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder,  or delusional disorder.

There has never been a manic or hypomanic episode.


Major depression can appear at any age.  About 7% percent of the population in the US will experience major depression.  There are, however, differences in age groups for the range of people age 18-29 they are three times more likely to experience major depression than individuals 60 and older. Females experience 1.5 to 3 times higher rates than males beginning in early adolescence.

The course of major depression varies.  Please see DSM-5 fifth edition for full criteria for major depression and the full range of depressive disorders.  As always, if you or someone you care about is suffering with depression in the Main Line, Montgomery County, or Greater Philadelphia Area, please call me or any qualified professional for an evaluation.  Major Depressive Disorder responds well to CBT and/or medication.

Very Best to You,


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