What is it?

Depression can present itself in varying forms and degrees. Here is a list of all of the DSM IV categories of depression and a thorough definition of each. The DSM IV is the professional and diagnostic guide/criteria for all mental health disorders. It is the professional written standard by which, all mental health professionals and physicians utilize in order to diagnosis a mental health issue.

Major Depression
A diagnosis would look like this,
Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode
Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent

Major Depression is present when an individual presents with either a depressed mood or with a loss of interest or pleasure in things that normally interest them or are typically pleasurable to them.

And five of the following are also occurring with either of the above mention,, ie. a loss of interest or pleasure, and any of the symptoms listed below, at least five must be present and occurring together for a 2 week period of time and represent a change in what is normal for this person:

1. The person is depressed most of their day, and nearly everyday. In children this may present as irritability.

2. The person has a diminished interest or pleasure in all activities most of the day, nearly everyday.

3. There is significant weight loss, when not dieting or weight gain or a marked increase or decrease in appetite. In children this can be seen as missing their expected weight gains.

4. Insomnia is present nearly everyday, which is the inability to sleep or hypersomnia, which is over sleeping.

5. The person's movement levels change, markedly and observably by others. They are very inactive or hyperactive; can't sit still.

6. Fatigue or feeling a lack of energy nearly everyday.

7. Experiencing feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate amounts of guilt nearly everyday and this is not related to their being ill.

8. The person losses their ability to think or concentrate or become indecisive and this is present nearly everyday.

9. The person is having recurring thoughts of death and this is not just a fear of dying. They are thinking about their death with or without a plan of suicide or they have attempted suicide.

With the presence of a least five of these symptoms there must also be a presence of significant distress or impairment in occupation, social, or other important areas of functioning. These symptoms can not be due to a medical condition or substance use, and these symptoms are not the result of losing a loved one, unless they have been occurring for longer than 2 months and their functioning is significantly impaired with the above qualifications and/or with the presence of psychotic symptoms.

Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified A diagnosis would look like this: Depressive Disorder 

Depressive Disorder NOS is present when depressive symptoms are present for at least 2 weeks, remember these are a depressed mood and/or loss of interest in activities typically are enjoyable to this person, but fewer than five of the symptoms listed above are also occurring with the depressive symptoms.
This we call a Minor Depressive Disorder, which falls under the category of Depressive Disorder NOS, as do the following...

A person is experiencing depressive symptoms from 2 days to 2 weeks, occurring at least once a month for 12 months and this cannot be associated with their menstrual cycle. This is called a, Recurrent Brief Depressive Disorder.
Situations when a clinician has concluded that a depressive disorder is occurring, but they can not determine if it is due to a general medical condition or if it is substance induced.
A person experiences a Major Depressive Episode, as defined above, under Major Depressive Disorder, that occurs during the residual phase of Schizophrenia.
This is called a, Postpsychotic Depressive Disorder of Schizophrenia.
A women experiences in most of her menstrual cycles during a 12 month period, a markedly depressed mood, anxiety and affective liability, which means really emotional, cries easily without reason, unpredictable mood swings, and decreased interest in typically enjoyable activities, usually occurring during the last luteal phase and done or symptoms are improved within a few days of onset of menstruation. These symptoms must be severe enough to markedly interfere with work, school, or usual activities and be entirely absent one week post-menses(after a person has had their period.
This is called, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
or, lastly for this category of Depressive Disorders NOS.

A person experiences a Major depressive Episode superimposed on Delusional disorder, Psychotic Disorder NOS, or the active phase of Schizophrenia.

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