How is Major Depressive Disorder Different From Everyday Depression?

Major depressive disorder and minor depressive disorder (also known as “everyday depression”) are different in several ways. Most prominently, however, those with major depressive disorder experience more symptoms at a higher level of intensity than those with minor depressive disorder.

This article will further explain the differences between these two disorders, what their symptoms are, and how they both can be treated.

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder is a serious mood disorder that is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness that negatively impact a person’s daily life. In many cases, depression can co-occur alongside an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, making the situation more difficult to cope with.

Someone with major depressive disorder must experience five or more of the following symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with this condition:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities or hobbies
  • Drastic weight loss or gain that cannot be attributed to diet
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

Those who have this mental health condition often experience a major depressive episode, which is a serious medical issue where the person is profoundly impacted by the symptoms of depression. This is a medical problem that rarely, if ever, resolves without treatment, and it can recur repeatedly. People with this mental illness require professional treatment so they can end the current episode and keep new episodes from occurring in the future.

What Are the Symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode?

At least 21 million adults across the United States experienced a major depressive episode in 2020. Symptoms of a major depressive episode can include:

  • Feelings of emptiness or being sad.
  • Irritability.
  • A sense of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Loss of pleasure in things once enjoyed.
  • Low energy.
  • Slow movements.
  • Restlessness.
  • Inability to think clearly, make decisions, or remember things.
  • Sleep changes.
  • Weight changes.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Complaints of illness a doctor cannot verify.

These symptoms might be present in almost anyone who has depression, but there are key differences in how those symptoms manifest between minor depression and major depression.

What is Minor Depression (Everyday Depression)?

Minor depression, which some people might call everyday depression, is a diagnosable mental illness. It is not a condition that will always disappear without treatment. It is a medical condition that people need to get treatment for, so they have the best chance of achieving a full recovery.

In an overview article in the Primary Care Companion, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers say that a diagnosis of minor depression applies when people have at least two symptoms of depression, but fewer than five symptoms. Those symptoms must persist during a two-week period.

What Are the Symptoms of Minor Depression?

Symptoms of minor depression can include, but are not limited to, the following:

·      Depressed mood nearly every day for most of the day

·      Changes in appetite and weight loss/gain

·      Insomnia or hypersomnia

·      Thoughts of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

·      Thoughts of suicide

·      Fatigue

These symptoms come from the same list of symptoms used to diagnose major depressive disorder, however someone with everyday depression experiences only a few of these symptoms, as their condition is typically milder than major depression.

Getting Help for Depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that cannot be cured, however can be treated by a professional. With the appropriate combination of medication, counseling, and therapy, individuals experiencing major depression, everyday depression, or any other form of depression can live happy, productive lives.

If you are struggling with depression, know that you are not alone. Millions of people experience this mental health condition daily. Getting help for your depression, however, is crucial to your overall wellbeing and health.

Treatment for Depression as a Co-Occurring Disorder

Treatment for a co-occurring disorder where depression is present often involves different forms of psychotherapy, medications and prescription antidepressants, and other evidence-based techniques. At our inpatient addiction treatment facility in New Jersey, we offer different levels of rehab services designed to meet the needs of each patient we treat. Call us right now at to speak to one of our rehab admissions navigators to learn more about ways to pay for rehab, using insurance to pay for rehab, and treatments, and get all of the questions you have answered. Also, you can get started on your recovery by having your insurance verified through our secure

If you need help, do not wait. Contact us right now to get all the information you need to get started on your recovery today.

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