Difference Between Depression and Clinical Depression

Main Difference – Depression vs Clinical Depression

Have you ever felt that your life is not going in the manner you always wanted? Are you still finding it difficult to forget the death of a loved one some time back and move on with life? Do you feel worthless often and feel like saying bye to all the negative events of life and get over with it? Then you are probably suffering from low mood or depression, which is rapidly increasing in the incidence in our modern community. Depression and Clinical depression are two subtypes of the same condition where the latter comes under a clinical diagnosis. The main difference between depression and clinical depression is that depression does not need to be treated with medications whereas clinical depression needs medication and counseling.

This article studies, 

1. What is Depression?
     – Definition, Cause, Features

2. What is Clinical Depression?
     – Definition, Cause, Sings and Symptoms, Features, Treatment

3. What is the difference between Depression and Clinical Depression?Difference Between Depression and Clinical Depression - Comparison Summary

What is Depression

All of us, at some point in our life, may experience loss of a loved one, failing an exam, problems in the career, doomed hopes about relationships and many more problems which can bring out a negative impact on our life and lifestyle. We may worry, cry or react impulsively and it’s completely normal for a certain limit of intensity and time. These negative emotions towards negative life events can be described as depression.

Depression is mild in nature and these emotions usually dissolve on its own and won’t be dragged over a long period of time. Therefore, they do not cause any significant or major damages to the individual’s life. Individuals affected by mild depression will not need any medication or anti-depressants but some people might get better quickly with few counseling sessions.

Main Difference - Depression vs Clinical Depression

What is Clinical Depression

If a person is found to be relatively over reacting or taking a longer time to get over with certain incidents in life, it can affect his physical and mental health.

Clinical depression is defined as persistent low mood, lack of energy and lack of interest, noticed almost every day for at least 2 weeks duration, making significant disturbances in the routine of the affected individual. This sort of depression develops when an individual doesn’t own adequate strength and coping skills to face episodes of negativity in life.

Depression has a female predominance; it affects 1 in 7 women by causing at least 1 episode of depression during their lifetime. The pathophysiology of depression includes an imbalance of the brain chemicals known as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Positive family history and social issues such as poverty and lack of support are also thought to have a negative impact on causing the condition.

Features of Clinical Depression

  • Fatigability and loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Sleep disturbances (waking early morning and late sleep at night)
  • Impaired concentration and attention
  • Noticeably diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities – Anhedonia
  • Ideas of self-harm and suicide     
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain

A psychiatrist will make the diagnosis of clinical depression by taking a complete history from the patient and sometimes from a relative or bystander. A proper depression history should include complete details on the stressors, family history and pre-morbid personality along with other normal aspects of a medical history.

Clinical depression is typically treated using both psychotherapy and anti-depressants. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy are also used to treat depression.

Difference Between Depression and Clinical Depression

Difference Between Depression and Clinical Depression


Depression is a near normal reaction, given out by a certain individual towards a negative life event.

Clinical depression is a persistent low mood, lack of energy and lack of interest, noticed almost every day for at least 2 weeks duration, making significant disturbances in the routine of the affected individual.


Plain depression is usually mild in severity without the necessity of anti-depressant medication.

Clinical depression is moderate to severe in nature and usually needs medication, psychotherapy and sometimes Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

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“1250897” (Public Domain) via Pixabay

“Depressed (4649749639)” By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands – Depressed (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia

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