Depression Chapter 9

Symptoms and Diagnosis


Diagnosing Depression

Although depression may create physical changes in the brain, there is no physical test to determine whether or not someone has depression. Depressive disorder is diagnosed by the presence of certain core emotional and behavioral symptoms. These are known as the DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria.

For a diagnosis of major depression, at least five of the following symptoms must be present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning. For a diagnosis of minor depression, from two to four of these symptoms must be present. For both major and minor depression, at least one of the symptoms must be either 1) depressed mood or 2) loss of interest or pleasure. READ MORE

  • Depressed mood (feeling sad or empty; being tearful)

  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities

  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too little or too much)

  • Slowing of thoughts and physical movements

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness

  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or specific plan for committing suicide

[From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (American Psychiatric Association, 2000)] LESS

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