DSM-V Definition of Depression

DSM-V Definition of Depression

DSM-V Definition of Depression There is no clear-cut definition of depression (major depressive disorder) in DSM-V.  However, if a pers...

DSM-V Definition of Depression

There is no clear-cut definition of depression (major depressive disorder) in DSM-V. However, if a person has been experiencing at least five of the following symptoms, one of which is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure in nearly most activities, most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, then this person may be suffering from depression:

  • The person considers themselves as "depressed, sad, hopeless, discouraged, 'down in the dumps.' " (DSM-5, 2013, p.163)
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities that were once considered as pleasurable
  • Significant change in appetite or weight
  • The person experiences difficulty in falling and/or returning to sleep, or is sleeping too much
  • Severe psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Feelings of unrest, decreased energy, or increased fatigue
  • Delusional or unrealistic sense of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty in concentrating, thinking, or creating decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Grief vs Depression: What is the difference?

(1) The predominant affect in grief is feelings of emptiness and loss while in depression (major depressive disorder) it is sustained depressed mood and inability to feel happy or pleasure. 

(2 & 3) The state of generalized dissatisfaction in grief decreases in intensity as time passes and occurs at irregular intervals. This dissatisfaction is tied with thoughts of the deceased. The depressed mood in depression (major depressive disorder) is sustained and is not associated with specific thoughts.

(4) Positive thoughts and emotions may accompany the pain of grief which is not typical in depression (major depressive disorder).

(5) The thoughts on grief are focused on memories of the deceased rather than the self in depression (major depressive disorder).

(6) Generally, there is no loss of self-esteem in grief whereas sense of worthlessness is common in depression (major depressive disorder).

(7) Thoughts of death in grief are focused on the deceased or joining them in death whereas thoughts of death in depression (major depressive disorder) are focused on ending their own life. 


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Fifth edition. 2013.



Kinaadman: DSM-V Definition of Depression
DSM-V Definition of Depression
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