Depression Classifications

Physicians distinguish between mild, moderate, and severe depression as follows:

  • Mild depression—No symptoms other than the five required for diagnosis, when these symptoms do not affect work, school, or social interaction
  • Moderate depression—Presence of five symptoms plus one or two more, when these symptoms affect, however mildly, work, school, or social interaction (e.g., causing absence, marked loss of concentration)
  • Severe Depression, Without Psychosis—Several or all of the major symptoms, when these symptoms encroach significantly on work, school, or social interaction (e.g., causing failure at school or in relationships)
  • Severe Depression, With Psychosis—Delusions and hallucinations persist, making normal function impossible
  • Depression In Partial Remission—Mild depression in which symptoms begin to fade and there are no past episodes of mild depression (e.g., dysthymia before diagnosis of depression)
  • Depression In Full Remission—No symptoms of depression for 6 months

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 03 Feb 2001

Last Modified: 20 Jun 2013