In Between Ordinary Sadness and Clinical Depression

by Guido Bondolfi, Viridiana Mazzola, and Giampiero Arciero

Limits between ordinary sadness and clinical depression


Since Kraeplin and Kretschmer, the clarification of the limits between ordinary sadness and clinical depression has been a major concern. Much of the controversy has focused on whether and on which bases can be fixed a boundary in the continuum from the experience of sadness to major depressive episode. The new emphasis on the role of clinical judgment introduced by DSM-5 can be regarded as a way to address these issues, though leaving several questions open. After examining the implications of the main topics raised by this still ongoing discussion, we will argue that in a clinical reality both mobility and intensity of emotional states may account for the discontinuity between ordinary sadness and clinical depression.

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