Depressive Disorders


Learn more about the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. The most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy and/or antidepressants.  

Major Depressive Disorder 

A major depressive episode is present when five or more of the following symptoms have been present for two weeks and at least one of the symptoms is depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, almost every day.
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in activities.
  • Significantly decreased sleep or significantly increased sleep.
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain (or decrease or increase in appetite).
  • Psychomotor agitation (increased purposeless movements) or psychomotor retardation (moving slower).
  • Feeling worthless or guilty.
  • Feeling tired or loss of energy.
  • Decreased ability to think, concentration or make decisions.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

The above symptoms cause impairment in work, school, and/or social life and are not due to any other substance or medical condition.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

The prominent feature of this disorder is the presence of depressed mood, for most days, for at least two years. While depressed the following symptoms may be present:

  • Loss of appetite or excessive eating.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping.
  • Low energy.
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

This disorder may be present when some of the following symptoms are present during the majority of menstrual cycles, in the final week before the onset of the menstruation:

  • Increased mood swings.
  • Depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness or feeling bad about oneself.
  • Increased irritability or anger, or increased conflicts with others.
  • Increased anxiety or stress.
  • Decreased interest in usual activities.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Increased sleep or difficulty sleeping.
  • Feeling out of control.
  • Feeling excessively tired or lack of energy.
  • Change in appetite, overeating or the presence of cravings.
  • Physical symptoms, such as breast tenderness, joint or muscle pain or feeling bloated.

These symptoms cause significant distress or interfere with work, relationships, or other social activities.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

This disorder usually consists of severe temper outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation.  These outbursts can occur three or more times a week.  The mood between tempers is usually angry or irritable.  These symptoms are present for one year or more.


The above criteria are adapted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).