Major Depressive Disorder in Adults


ICD-10 codes:

Single episode, mild F32.0

Single episode, moderate F32.1

Recurrent, mild F33.0

Recurrent, moderate F33.1

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is part of a cluster of diagnoses called the depressive disorders.  Depressive disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (children only)

The depressive disorders are characterized primarily by mood disturbance (sad, empty, or irritable mood).  Individuals with depressive disorders often experience significant somatic changes, such as disruptions in sleep (insomnia or hypersomnia), eating (overeating or loss of appetite), or energy level.  Changes in cognition, such as difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, and morbid ideation (such as thoughts of death) are also common. 

Individuals with major depressive disorder experience pervasive sadness or anhedonia (loss of interest) along with significant changes in somatic and/or cognitive functioning.  To be diagnosed, these problems must be present nearly every day for at least two weeks.  Individuals with persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) experience similar symptoms, including sad mood and problems with somatic and/or cognitive functioning that occur most days for at least two years. Individuals with premenstrual dysphoric disorder experience marked changes in mood and interpersonal functioning that begin sometime following ovulation and remit within a few days of the onset of menses. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is diagnosed in children under 12 years old who experience persistent irritability and extreme behavioral dyscontrol.

What is major depressive disorder?

MDD is a psychiatric disorder that will affectapproximately 16% of adults at some point in their lives.  To be diagnosed with MDD, a person must experience the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood, which can also be experienced as sadness or emptiness, and/or
  • Anhedonia, which is a significant loss of interest in all or almost all of the person’s usual activities.
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Understanding Major Depressive Disorder

MDD severity can range from mild to debilitating.  In severe cases, MDD can lead to inability to perform at work or school or fulfill responsibilities at home.  MDD can also cause significant problems in interpersonal relationships.  Many people with MDD also have other psychiatric conditions, most commonly anxiety disorders.

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How is major depressive disorder treated?

MDD is treatable.  Published treatment guidelines for OCD include those from the American Psychiatric Association, the Society of Clinical Psychology, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

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