Chapter 1. Diagnosis of Depressive Disorders

  1. Helen Herrman3,
  2. Mario Maj4 and
  3. Norman Sartorius5
  1. Gordon Parker1,2

Published Online: 10 AUG 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470745892.ch1

Depressive Disorders, Third Edition

Depressive Disorders, Third Edition

How to Cite

Parker, G. (2009) Diagnosis of Depressive Disorders, in Depressive Disorders, Third Edition (eds H. Herrman, M. Maj and N. Sartorius), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470745892.ch1

Editor Information

  1. 3

    University of Melbourne, Australia

  2. 4

    University of Naples, Italy

  3. 5

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

  2. 2

    Black Dog Institute, Sydney, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 AUG 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 AUG 2009

Book Series:

  1. World Psychiatric Association Evidence and Experience in Psychiatry Series

Book Series Editors:

  1. Helen Herrman

Series Editor Information

  1. WPA Secretary for Publications, University of Melbourne, Australia

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470987209

Online ISBN: 9780470745892



  • depressive disorder diagnosis;
  • World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10);
  • American PsychiatricAssociation's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III) model;
  • depressed affect - state of feeling ‘depressed’, ‘sad’ or ‘blue’ and specific trigger response;
  • depressive disorder classificatory system;
  • current DSM-IV system and DSM-III classificatory system;
  • explanatory capacity of dimensional and subtyping models;
  • DSM specifier categories and capturing depressive subtypes;
  • depressive disorder and blurring of caseness;
  • criteria-based diagnosis for clinical drug trials


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Overview of the Principal Classification Systems Currently in Use

  • Concerns about Current Classificatory Approaches

  • Historical Overview of Contrasting Binary and Unitary Models

  • The Explanatory Capacity of Dimensional and Subtyping Models

  • Research and Treatment Difficulties with Current Diagnoses

  • Psychiatry is not Alone

  • An Alternative Model: A Subtyping Approach Respecting Cause

  • Another Alternative: A Mixed Subtyping Approach

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements

  • References