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  • Writer's pictureEugene Roginsky



Depression is a pervasive and often debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide


Depression is a pervasive and often debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Understanding and addressing depression is crucial, as it impacts not only the individual suffering but also those around them. In this article, we will explore the nature of depression, its symptoms, causes, and various strategies for coping and finding hope.


Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently low mood, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, emotional isolation, anxiety, and deep feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. It can significantly interfere with daily functioning and quality of life. Unlike temporary feelings of sadness, depression is long-lasting and requires psychotherapeutic attention and medical intervention.


Depression manifests in various forms, each with its own distinct characteristics. It's important to recognize that everyone experiences depression differently, with some symptoms being more prominent than others. To receive a diagnosis, individuals must meet specific criteria over a certain period. Depression is typically diagnosed by a licensed medical or behavioral health professional.

The following diagnostic criteria are based on the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013 For more information on diagnostics please refer to:  American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Description: MDD is characterized by severe symptoms that interfere with an individual's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. These symptoms are present most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks.

Diagnostic Criteria:

  • Depressed mood most of the day

  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities

  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness

  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation, or a suicide attempt

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) (Dysthymia)

Description: PDD is a chronic form of depression with a depressed mood lasting for at least two years. The symptoms are not as severe as MDD but are more enduring.

Diagnostic Criteria:

  • Depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least two years

  • Presence, while depressed, of two (or more) of the following:

  • Poor appetite or overeating

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Low energy or fatigue

  • Low self-esteem

  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • During the two years, the individual has never been without the symptoms for more than two months at a time

Bipolar Disorder

Description: Bipolar Disorder involves episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. The mood shifts may happen over weeks, months, or even years.

Diagnostic Criteria:

  • Manic Episode: A period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood lasting at least one week, along with at least three of the following:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

  • Decreased need for sleep

  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking

  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing

  • Distractibility

  • Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation

  • Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences

  • Depressive Episode: Same criteria as MDD for a depressive episode

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Description: SAD is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. It typically occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight.

Diagnostic Criteria:

  • Depressive episodes that occur at a specific time of year, typically in the winter

  • Full remission or change to mania or hypomania at a characteristic time of year

  • The seasonal depressive episodes substantially outnumber the non-seasonal depressive episodes over the individual's lifetime

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

·        Description: PPD is a type of depression that occurs after childbirth. It can start anytime within the first year after giving birth, but most commonly begins within the first three weeks postpartum. The symptoms are similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder but occur in the context of childbirth.


NOTE: Please seek medical attention immediately.


Eugene Roginsky LCSW

About the author

Eugene Roginsky, LCSW, is a Licensed Psychotherapist based in Lake County, Illinois. With extensive experience in various mental health settings, including inpatient psychiatry, intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and outpatient therapy, Eugene brings a wealth of knowledge to his practice. He has been a keynote speaker at healthcare and mental health events and regularly teaches continuing education courses to nurses, clinical social workers, and healthcare administrators. His company, Bridge2Horizon Psychotherapy, and Counseling Services in Lincolnshire Illinois, offers individual, couples, and family therapy, as well as community wellness education.



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