Just because you may be feeling a little down, that does not classify you as having major depressive disorder. In this episode, Dr. Ronald R. Fieve, author of the recently published book "Bipolar Breakthrough," describes the 5 symptoms that a patient must have before they can be diagnosed as having clinical depression.
Dr. Fieve: We have in psychiatry a book that's called the Research Diagnostic Criteria. In that book, you add up the symptoms, you either have them or you don't. For instance, with depression, you gotta have it for two weeks, if you don't have it for two weeks then you don't have major depressive disorder. You gotta have 3 out of 5 symptoms like: hopeless, helpless, worthless, weight gain or weight loss, appetite gain or appetite loss, inability to function, and maybe suicidal ideas. Now you gotta have 3 or 4 of those, and it's gotta be for 2 weeks, or else you don't have depression. And typically depressives feel worse in the morning when they get up, and as the day goes by, they start feeling better, even though as the day goes by you are accumulating problems., so you should feel worse, but clinical depression has a cycle, it's called a diurnal cycle where you feel worse in the morning, and better at night, whereas the psychological depression where people are upset about their lives and feel down, they feel better in the morning and they get worse at night.
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