What Is the Difference Mild, Moderate and Severe Depression?

Depression varies from one person to another because of its intensity in a particular case. Moreover, the intensity is able to vary over time as well. There are many effective medications for mild to moderate depression treatment and diagnostic tools, for instance, the Beck Depression Inventory, which are able to determine the severity of depression.

The decision on depression severity is based upon clinical experience of a doctor, his/her education and other outer factors. However, there are some specifications using which doctors differentiate among the levels of depression severity.

People suffering from mild and moderate depression usually feel blue, but they don’t experience those devastating symptoms as people with severe depression, who sometimes need to be hospitalized to cope with the manifestations of the conditions.

Common Symptoms of Mild, Moderate and Severe Depression

The signs of mild to moderate depression usually include the following:

• Low energy;
• Anxiety;
• Trouble sleeping;
• Appetite changes;
• Low spirits;
• Irritability;
• Problems concentrating;
• Low ability to tolerate stressful situations.

Some psychologists state that the difference between mild and moderate depressive disorder lies in the following: people with mild depression don’t need to take any medications, as its symptoms may get better some time later, while moderate depression affects a person’s daily life significantly – neglect his/her hygiene and look and feel devastated. People with this degree of depression are likely to be treated with antidepressants, so in this case doctor’s consultation, counseling or psychotherapy is inevitable. A person with severe depression will have the following symptoms:

• Agitation;
• Sleeping too little or too much;
• Significant weight gain or loss;
• Much more depressed mood;
• Severe concentration and memory issues;
• Thoughts of suicide;
• Complete loss of interest in things that were enjoyed before;
• Severe feelings of guilt and worthlessness;
• Slowed movements and/or speech.

Sometimes severe depression may include such psychotic symptoms as hallucinations and delusions, that is why this type is considered to be more dangerous and disabling for a person who is suffering from it, and it requires urgent medical assistance in order to deal with it as soon as possible.