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Depressive disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) is defined by the DSM is a more general category of depressive disorders that do not fit the descriptions of major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder. Examples of when this diagnosis is used include:

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) - when depressive symptoms (significantly depressed mood, significant anxiety, significant mood swings, decreased interest in activities) are present in the week prior to menstruation for most of the year. These symptoms must also be severe enough to significantly interfere with work, school, or usual activities and have subsided for one week after menstruation.
  • Minor depressive disorder - having episodes of 2 weeks or more with symptoms (less that 5) similar to a major depressive episode
  • Recurrent brief depressive disorder - having episodes of 2 days up to 2 weeks similar to a major depressive episode, at least once a month for at least a year
  • Postpsychotic depressive disorder of schizophrenia - having a major depressive episode that occurs during the residual phase of schizophrenia
  • A major depressive episode that occurs at the same time as schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder
  • When a clinician has found the presence of a depressive disorder, but it is unknown if the condition is caused by a medical condition or due to the effects of drugs or medication.

To meet clinical standards these symptoms also must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The condition is also not caused or explained by the following:

  • Due to effects of drugs or medication
  • Due to a medical condition
  • Better explained as bereavement

This diagnosis is not used if the person has had any of the following:


Mood disorders as diagnosed by the DSM edit
Mood episodes: Major depressive episode Manic episode Mixed episode Hypomanic episode

Depressive disorders: Major depressive disorder Dysthymic disorder Depressive disorder NOS (PMDD)

Bipolar disorders: Bipolar I disorder Bipolar II disorder Cyclothymic disorder Bipolar disorder NOS

Other mood disorders: Mood disorder due to a general medical condition Substance-induced mood disorder Mood disorder NOS

Episode specifiers: Severity Psychotic Remission Chronic Catatonic Melancholic Atypical Postpartum

Course specifiers: Longitudinal Seasonal (SAD) Rapid cycling

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