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Signs of Depression


Updated June 15, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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The clinical symptoms of a depressive episode are specifically stated in the DSM-IV-TR, which is the psychiatrist's diagnostic handbook. But every person's personal signs of depression are likely to be different, even though common characteristics are shared.

When a person has a cluster of such signs and symptoms, and they go on for two weeks or more, he or she could be diagnosed with major depressive disorder or, if the person also experiences mania or hypomania, bipolar disorder. Let's take a look at nine of the everyday signs of depression that, taken as a group, could lead to one of these disorders being diagnosed. We'll use four characters: John, Tina, Andy and Lorna. Important to keep in mind: Andy has previously experienced mania, and Tina hypomania. Each will have unique symptoms, leading to slightly different diagnoses -- so at the end of this article, you can find out what these four characters have been diagnosed with.

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