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Lifespan Depression

  1. Margaret C. Craighead1,
  2. Benjamin H. Craighead2,
  3. W. Edward Craighead3

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy1048

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Craighead, M. C., Craighead, B. H. and Craighead, W. E. 2010. Lifespan Depression. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Emory University School of Medicine

  2. 2

    Salisbury Pediatrics, Salisbury, NC

  3. 3

    Emory University School of Medicine

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In the United States, the word “depression” refers to everything from a transient mood state (feeling down) to the clinically diagnosed disorder known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). In order to receive a diagnosis of MDD, a person must experience marked psychological distress as well as a decrease in cognitive and behavioral functioning. In addition, the two weeks prior to diagnosis the patient's life must be characterized by an almost daily occurrence of a dysphoric mood (i.e., sadness) and/or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities (anhedonia). The individual must also experience at least four of the following seven symptoms nearly every day for at least a two–week period: (1) significant weight change or change in appetite; (2) insomnia or hypersomnia; (3) psychomotor agitation or retardation; (4) fatigue or loss of energy; (5) feelings of worthlessness or of excessive or inappropriate guilt; (6) decreased concentration or indecisiveness; and (7) suicidal ideation, plan or attempt (see American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Only three of the above additional symptoms are needed for a diagnosis if dysphoric mood and anhedonia are both present. Other mood disorders related to MDD include Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar (Manic-Depressive) Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder.


  • antidepressant medications;
  • cognitive behavior therapy;
  • ECT;
  • interpersonal psychotherapy;
  • major depression;
  • marital therapy