Part Two of Depressive Disorders

Part Two of Depressive Disorders differentiates Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder.  Depressive Disorders is the fourth diagnostic class being covered in the Mental Health Diagnosis! blog series.  If you missed the introduction to the series click HERE to learn how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 works.  Click HERE to read the Introduction to Depressive Disorders.

Similarities between Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder have four common criterion:  one, the minimum conditions for meeting a manic or hypomanic episode have never been met; two, the depressive symptoms are not due to the physiological effects of a substance, the abuse of a drug, nor any other medical condition; three, the depressive symptoms are not better explained by a Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder; and four, the depressive symptoms must disrupt the individual’s typical functioning in school, at work, or in other important settings.

Major Depressive Disorder

Diagnosis with Major Depressive Disorder requires that an individual meet all five of the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders.  Four of the five criteria for Major Depressive Disorder are described above as they are also requirements for Persistent Depressive Disorder.

In addition to the previously mentioned criterion, diagnosis also requires that the individual experience five or more of the nine depressive characteristics for most of the day and nearly every day for at least two weeks; it is required that either ‘depressed mood’ or ‘loss of interest or pleasure’ is one of the symptoms; and the presence of the symptoms of depression must represent a change in previous functioning.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013) lists the following characteristics of depression:

  1. “Depressed mood
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia
  5. Psychomotor agitation or [delay]
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for committing suicide”.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

One of the criteria that differentiates Persistent Depressive Disorder from Major Depressive Disorder is the length of time that symptoms have been present.  Diagnosis with Persistent Depressive Disorder requires the presence of a depressed mood for most of the day and nearly every day for at least two years in adults and at least one year in children and adolescents.

In addition to the symptoms of depression, the individual also experiences two or more of the following additional symptoms:

  1. “Poor appetite or overeating
  2. Insomnia or hypersomnia
  3. Low energy or fatigue
  4. Low self-esteem
  5. Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  6. Feelings of hopelessness”

(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2013).

Finally, the symptoms for Major Depressive Disorder must be present for two consecutive years, and there is no more than a two-month period where symptoms subside; and the individual must not have ever met the criteria for cyclothymic disorder.  Click HERE to review the characteristics of cyclothymia!

 Up Next!

Part Three of Depressive Disorders which details Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder!


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Web. [access date: 2 May 2018].

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