DSM-IV reads, that a person who has major depressive disorder (MDD) must have such symptoms of depression as depressed mood, loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities consequentially for minimum a two-week period. And this depressive mood must be different to the person’s usual mood condition; social, educational, occupational, or any other important functioning of this person must also be negatively aggravated by this mood change.
If depressed mood is caused by any substances (like alcohol, drugs or medications) or it is a symptom of a general health condition, than it is not a clear sign of major depressive disorder. MDD disorder cannot be diagnosed if a patient previously had episodes of hypomanic, manic, or mixed disorders (e.g., symptoms of bipolar disorder) or if his depression is more likely caused by schizoaffective disorder and not superimposed on schizophreniform disorder, schizophrenia, delusionalor psychotic disorder. Besides, the symptoms of MDD are hard to be differentiated from normal human feelings after bereavement (i.e., after the loss of parents or a loved person), so the symptoms must persist for more than 2 months or be followed by notable functional violation, painful preoccupation with feeling of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, psychomotor retardation or psychotic symptoms.
Major depressive disorder in DSM is distinguished by the existence of the most of the following symptoms:
- Expressly reduced pleasure or interest in almost all activities of the everyday life
- Most of the day he has depressed mood. It happens nearly every day, and indicated by either observation made by others (he looks tearful) or subjective report (he feels sad). In kids and teens, this behavior may look like an irritable mood.
- Substantial weight loss without dieting or other way round – weight gain (a change of more than five kilos of body weight per month), he may have increase or decrease in appetite almost every day.
- Psychomotor excitation or retardation almost every day
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Periodical thoughts about death (not only fear of dying), repeating suicidal thoughts without any plan, or attempts of suicide.
- Tiredness or loss of energy almost every day
- Reduced ability to think or focus, or indecisiveness, almost every day
- Feeling of worthlessness or extreme guilt almost every day.
Symptoms of major depressive disorder (DSM-IV) will help you to identify this disease and set correct treatment.