Apply the DSM4 Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder

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Major depressive disorder, commonly referred to as depression, affects approximately 25 million people each year in the United States, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). For reasons not fully understood, depression occurs about 70 percent more frequently in women then men.

It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression so that help and treatment can take place. Otherwise the severity of symptoms and frequency of depressive episodes can increase and become worse.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

Symptoms of major depressive disorder may vary from person to person, but may include one or more of the following:

  • • Changes in appetite
  • • Changes in sleep
  • • Hopelessness or guilt
  • • Lack of interest
  • • Loss of energy
  • • Low self-esteem
  • • Movement changes
  • • Poor concentration

A healthcare professional will also refer to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, commonly referred to as the DSM, or DSM-4, to diagnose major depressive disorder.

What is the DSM-IV or DSM-4?

The DSM-4 is the current reference or “go-to” guide that psychologists use to accurately diagnose mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder or depression. According to the DSM-4, the diagnostic criteria for depression includes the following, which need to last longer than two weeks:

  • • Depressed mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness)
  • • Reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed
  • • Change in appetite or weight (up or down)
  • • Sleep disturbances (either not being able to sleep well or sleeping too much)
  • • Feeling agitated or slowed down
  • • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • • Feeling worthless or excessive guilt
  • • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or troubles making decisions about things
  • • Suicidal thoughts or intentions

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness

 
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