Merriam-Webster defines “depression” as “a state or spell of low spirits.” It lists dozens of synonyms for it such as:
Blues, dejection, desolation, despond, despondence, dispiritedness, doldrums, downheartedness, dreariness, dumps, forlornness, gloominess, glumness, heartsickness, joylessness and melancholy
But clinical depression is much more than having the “blues” or being temporarily overcome with sadness after the death of a loved one, for example. The National Institutes of Health says Major Depressive Disorder “causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.” These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
If you have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), your doctor may have used terms that may not be familiar. Understanding the language used by healthcare providers and learning how the severity of depression is determined can help you better communicate with your doctors.