Depressive Disorders

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The most commonly used diagnostic system in the United States is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV). Depression is implicated primarily in what are termed the mood disorders. The mood disorders are themselves divided into two major categories: the depressive disorders and the bipolar disorders. The depressive disorders are sometimes referred to as unipolar depressions, that is, mood disorders in which changes from normal mood occur in only one direction, toward depressed mood. Bipolar disorders exhibit bidirectional fluctuations, either to depressed mood or to abnormally euphoric (manic) mood states. It is recognized that mood disorders can be the result of general medical conditions as well as the result of the use or abuse of drugs and other substances. Mood disorders caused by drug use or abuse are not considered primary mood disorders. In the following section, the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for the more common mood disorders are presented.

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