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Depression is a clinical syndrome characterized by negative emotions and associated cognitive and physical symptoms. Cumulative prevalence of major depression before the end of adolescence is 12% to 28%. This entry starts by describing Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for the diagnosis of depressive disorders. It then discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using such a categorical system to assign a diagnosis of depression. It finishes by describing instruments that can be used to make a diagnosis.

Diagnostic Criteria for the Depressions

The DSM describes two main depressive disorders: (1) major depressive disorder (MDD) and (2) persistent depressive disorder (also known as dysthymia). For a diagnosis of MDD, a patient must have at least five depressive symptoms, of which at least one must ...

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