Depression classifications: Knowing the severity and when to seek help

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 5:48 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - If you are one that lives with depression, you likely know that there are different classifications. But how can you tell how severe it is based on your symptoms, and when is it time to seek help?

Rick Jass, licensed professional counselor at Charis Counseling, joined the Deep Bench on NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Friday.

“If you look at mild, moderate and severe depression that people can have, we’re looking at about two weeks of someone that has a depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, they’re either sleeping too much or not enough, a decrease or increase in appetite, energy level, concentration and then finally you can have recurring thoughts of death or suicide or even a specific plan for it.”

Jass said whether you feel mild depression or major depression right off the bat depends on how many symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as the impairment it’s causing in your life.

“And so if you look at a kind of mild depression, again we’re looking at at least two weeks, it’s not just having a bad day. It’s something where it continues on for a period of time. You’re feeling down.. you’re feeling blue. Loss of motivation and energy.”

He said when it works its way up to moderate, you might be missing work, breaking down at work or having trouble getting out of bed. When it gets to major depression, the person is having a lot of thoughts of suicide, self harm and it feels overwhelming.

For depression that’s not treated, Jass said it can progress in severity.

“There’s different stressors that can have an impact on depression,” he said. For example, income and the current changes when living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you are experiencing thoughts of harm or killing yourself, reach out to someone for help. Call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or call a counselor or your doctor to get help immediately. 

Severe depression causes a person to magnify all of the negatives and to minimize any of the positives in their life. However, depression is also one of the most treatable mental health conditions so seek help if you are feeling depressed.

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