Although there is no blood test to diagnose depression, there are well-developed guidelines used by health care professionals to diagnose Major Depressive Disorder. One of these guidelines, developed by the American Psychiatric Association, is called the DSM-V®.

According to the DSM-V, certain symptoms are present in someone living with depression. True clinical depression is a “mood disorder” in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended period of time. In order for a clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (or "depression"), five or more of the following symptoms are present for at least two weeks:

  • Constant sadness

  • Irritability


Trouble sleeping or over sleeping

  • Low energy or fatigue

  • Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason

  • Significant weight change

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Loss of interest in favorite activities

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should meet with a therapist or medical doctor. They can help you review your options and arrive at a treatment plan to help you feel better and return you to normal functioning.

The majority of Americans experience symptoms of depression at sometime in their lives. Sometimes depression can be caused by a particular situation or event in one’s life. Other times it can seem as if there’s no reason to feel depressed – in that case, it may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Whatever, the cause, there is help available.