The prevalence of depression is not clearly established, but estimated to 3-4% in a Danish questionnaire study. Lifetime's prevalences of 12-17% are reported in other community samples. In the current diagnostic system depression is defined categorically and operationally. It has been argued, that these diagnostic criteria represent an oversimplification, which has blurred the concept of depression. We suggest a greater emphasis on the depressed mood as the core symptom of depression, which may increase the specificity of the diagnosis. Furthermore, basic principles for the treatment of depression are presented.