Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. In addition to a depressed mood and a marked lack of interest the victims often suffer from other symptoms such as rapid fatigue, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal and insomnia. Many patients also suffer from repetitive brooding thoughts. Often the victims suffer from a diminished self-esteem and reduced self-confidence. Added symptoms are a loss of appetite, physical discomfort, lethargy, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior.
The Depression is one of the group of so-called affective disorders, which also includes bipolar affective disorder, cyclothymic disorder and dysthymic disorder.
In addition to major depressive disorder (MDD) there are several other manifestations of depressive disorders, such as double depression, the minor depression, the recurrent brief depression and the premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), also known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Main article: Depressive Disorders: Types
psychological tests for the diagnosis and assessment of a depressive disorder. The most important test instruments include the CES-D-Scale (Center for Epidemologic Studies Depression Scale) by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D).
Main article: Depressive Disorders: Psychological Tests
Women are affected about twice as likely as men and have a younger average age of onset. About half of all patients report a family history of affective disorders.
Main article: Depressive Disorders: Risk Factors
Depressive disorders often appear in recurrent episodes or in phases, with a high rate of recurrence in untreated individuals. Under adequate, multi-stage treatment can about 2/3 of all outpatients with major depression achieve long term remission.
Main article: Depressive Disorders: Course