How is mild-to-moderate depression diagnosed?
Mild-to-moderate depression -- termed dysthymic disorder, or dysthymia -- is marked by milder symptoms than major depression, but the symptoms are prolonged and protracted.

Dysthymia is characterized by depressed mood for most of the day, on more days than not, for at least two years. Additionally, a diagnosis of dysthymia requires the presence of at least two of these symptoms while depressed:
  • poor appetite or overeating
  • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • fatigue, loss of energy or tired all the time
  • low self-esteem
  • impaired concentration and difficulty making decisions
  • feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

To be considered as indicative of dysthymia, the first two years of depressed mood cannot include any episodes of major depression. Furthermore, diagnosis of dysthymia precludes a history of manic episodes and requires that depressed mood occur not during the course of some other psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia. In addition, no underlying cause of depressed mood, such as a general (i.e., other than psychiatric) medical condition or substance abuse, must be present.

The symptoms of dysthymia cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.

Continue Learning about Depression Diagnosis

Depression Diagnosis

Depression Diagnosis

Medical and mental health professionals generally do not use blood or brain tests to make their diagnosis of depression and instead rely on a physical examination, family history and questions regarding your depression symptoms. B...

ecause general feelings of sadness, fatigue and lack of interest in everyday activities can accompany many other conditions, including ADD/ADHD, anxiety and bipolar disorder, depression can be difficult to diagnose.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.