There are 2 different categories in the depressive disorder section. Note that Bipolar Disorder is also a mood disorder and can be included in this section but another section is devoted to the disorder (Bipolar Disorder).

1) depressive disorder (called major depressive disorder to clinicians)
2) dysthymia
 

                                 Depressive Disorder

A depressive disorder is characterized when an individual experiences the  following symptoms. It is important to note that these symptoms should be present for a minimum of 2 weeks and represent a change from prior levels of functioning. Either a depressed mood or anhedonia (loss of interest in pleasurable activities) must also be present.

It is worth noting that these symptoms cause significant functional impairments in social, occupational or other areas of functioning. Furthermore, these symptoms are not caused by any physiological effects.

Furthermore, a depressive disorder can be categorized as a single episode or  recurrent. A single episode basically means that the individual is experiencing the disorder for the first time in his/her life.  Recurrent means that the individual has experienced these symptoms sometimes in the past; there needs to be at least 2 months of interval between the episodes for the recurrent criteria to be met.

                                         Dysthymia

Dysthymia is differentiated from the depressive disorder due to the following reason:

In addition, the following symptoms need to be present: These symptoms are not caused by any physiological effects. Furthermore, they cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.