What is Clinical Depression?
4.7 (16 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,799 students enrolled

What is Clinical Depression?

Understand the nature, symptoms, and internal experience of the most common mood disorders.
4.7 (16 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,799 students enrolled
Created by Randy Paterson
Last updated 9/2014
English [Auto]
Current price: $17.99 Original price: $29.99 Discount: 40% off
1 day left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn the distinction between depression and "the blues."
  • Learn the "Floating Diamond" model of depression symptoms.
  • Learn how symptoms feed forward, including the concepts of snowballs and reverberations.
  • Learn how depression is diagnosed - the symptoms examined and their intensity and duration.
  • Learn about other symptoms that are not a part of the diagnostic criteria, but which are a part of the depressive experience.
  • Learn about other mood-related problems, including dysthymia, mania, hypomania, cyclothymia, and bipolar disorder.
  • An interest in mood and mental health.
  • Willingness to spend a bit more time than the quick "symptom list" types of online resources usually provide.
  • A desire to learn about some of the controversies in the field.
  • And that's it: You don't need any particular educational background, or any special supplies. We'll provide you with a complete set of course notes that you can print out and use to follow along with the lectures.

Join our community of over 1700 students learning about the nature of depression!

Depression, by some estimates, is the leading cause of disability in the developed world. Millions of people experience it each year. Yet many people who have depression have never been told much about it.

This course describes the nature of the most common mood disorders - including major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. We review the symptoms used in making the diagnosis, and the challenges in properly diagnosing a problem for which there is no simple blood test.

The course provides a model - the Floating Diamond - for breaking down and understanding the various elements of the depressive experience. Using it, we discover that depression is not, in fact, a mood disorder. It is a disorder of virtually everything: physiology, thoughts, behaviour, and, yes, emotion.

We explore a central problem in depression: the fact that symptoms (such as sleep disruption) tend to feed back and intensify the disorder. Depression is not simply a vicious circle - it is a COLLECTION of vicious circles, all working at once.

We move beyond the diagnostic criteria to discuss the additional symptoms and aspects of the depressive experience, exploring factors such as brain fog, memory disruption, sexual problems, and more.

CAUTIONS: Depression is an enormous topic, and in this course we are mainly focussed on the experience of the problem. We do not go into detail about either causes or treatment approaches - these will be covered in other courses. As well, this course is not a substitute for treatment, which should be carried out with the help of a qualified healthcare professional. We also caution against any attempt at self-diagnosis.

30 Day Guarantee: Not sure? You don't have to be. We have a 30-day complete money back guarantee, no questions asked. Some of the lectures are also available as free previews, so you can get a sense of the course before you buy.

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone interested in learning more about the nature and symptoms of clinical depression and related disorders.
  • This includes people directly affected by depression, and their family and friends.
  • And others who deal with depression, including employers, human resources staff, and healthcare personnel.
Course content
Expand all 13 lectures 02:26:53
+ The Nature of Clinical Depression
6 lectures 53:06

People frequently talk about being depressed - but what is the difference between this and clinical depression? This lecture provides an introduction to the course, the notes package, and the sequence of topics.

Preview 07:01

The 22-page course notes for the entire "What Is Depression?" course. Use it to follow along as you work through the course.

Course Notes for "What Is Depression?"
22 pages

Depression can feel like a confused mass of experiences, so it's helpful to tease the symptoms apart. The Floating Diamond divides symptoms into behavior, thought, emotion, and physiology while showing how these realms are all interconnected.

The Floating Diamond Model - Depression Is More Than a Mood Disorder

There are nine diagnostic symptoms for major depressive episodes, and an individual must have at least one of the first two. This lecture discusses the cardinal emotional symptoms of low mood and anhedonia.

Major Depressive Episode - Mood-Related Criteria

We've covered two of the symptoms of major depressive episode, now it's time for the other seven.

Major Depressive Episode - Other Diagnostic Criteria

Major depressive episode describes a period of depression - but the actual diagnosis of major depressive disorder is a bit more complicated. While covering it, let's consider one or two of the controversies about diagnosis and depression.

Major Depressive Disorder
+ Beyond the Diagnosis - The Experience of Depression
3 lectures 30:56

The symptoms used in the diagnosis of depression aren't the only ones people experience; there are many more. Using the Floating Diamond, let's identify additional aspects of the depression experience.

Additional Symptoms of Depression

Depression differs from many other health problems because its symptoms become new causes, thus perpetuating itself. Snowballs are symptoms that feed back to magnify the depression generally, whereas reverberations bounce from node to node of the floating diamond, like a pinball machine.

Preview 06:25

The name "Major Depression" begs the question: Is there such a thing as Minor Depression? Yes, there is - and probably most of us will experience it. But is it a disorder, and does it need treatment? Here we tread into tricky territory, and consider a debate about diagnosis and the medicalization of normality.

So Is There Minor Depression?
+ Additional Mood Disorders
2 lectures 21:18

What happens if a lower-grade depression carries on and on and on? This problem, called dysthymia, brings its own challenges. In particular, as time passes a person may adopt a lifestyle that supports and fits the mood problem more than it fits them. As well, the low mood can become part of the self-image, making change a daunting concept.

Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)

For some people the mood goes not only unusually low, but also troublingly "high." This lecture describes the nature and diagnosis of mania and hypomania, and bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorder. We consider the startling upswing in bipolar 2 diagnosis in recent years, which leads us once more into controversy in the field.

Bipolar Disorder
+ Epidemiology and Course Wrapup
2 lectures 19:33

How common is depression? Are men or women more likely to get it? At what age does it generally appear? Is depression becoming more prevalent over time? How expensive is depression relative to other ailments?

Preview 12:43

So that's our course. But let's touch very briefly on some recommendations about managing depression (more about this will come in another course). Above all, we recommend consulting a healthcare professional and learning about depression.

Course Wrapup