In any given year, more than 10 percent of American adults have at least one episode of major depressive disorder (MDD), but fewer than 60 percent of them receive appropriate treatment.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people have a major depressive episode if they experience items 1 or 2 in the list of symptoms below, plus at least four of the others, almost daily for at least two weeks, and these symptoms impair social, occupational, or other types of functioning:
- Depressed mood with feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness (in children, irritability can be the main feature).
- Apathy—loss of interest and pleasure in activities formerly enjoyed.
- Sleep problems, such as insomnia or oversleeping.
- Fatigue or decreased energy.
- Noticeable changes in appetite and significant weight gain or loss when not dieting.
- Inability to concentrate or think, or indecisiveness.
- Physical symptoms of restlessness or being physically slowed down.
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide attempt.
Also see Shining a Light on Depression.