Depressive Disorders

Depressive disorders include the following: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, depressive disorder due to another medical condition, unspecified depressive disorder, and substance/medication induced depressive disorder. The issues of duration, timing, and presumed cause can help distinguish which depressive disorder a person is experiencing. While each of these depressive disorders is unique in diagnostic criteria, the common feature of all depressive disorders is the presence of sadness, irritability, and a feeling of emptiness, which can be debilitating and/or extreme. In addition, an individual experiencing a depressive disorder usually experiences physical and cognitive problems which significantly affect the person’s functioning and capacity. Some individuals with a depressive disorder may experience suicidal ideations or feelings.

For many people with a depressive disorder, mental and physical symptoms are typically severe enough to cause noticeable impairment in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities, and family or other relationships. 

Depressive symptoms may be temporary, as with grief, life transitions, or substance-induced depression, but even short-term depressive symptoms may be extreme enough to warrant psychiatric attention. Some forms of depression may resolve with psychotherapy and lifestyle changes, and medication may also be necessary and helpful. Depressive symptoms in older adults may be different from symptoms in younger adults and may include memory issues/impairment and unique somatic concerns to older adults.


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