The international classifications

The classification of depressive states is complex and controversial. The word 'depression' covers a wide range of conditions, from transient unhappiness to life-threatening psychiatric illness.

Various theories about types of depression, such as 'endogenous/ reactive' (see below), have had to be abandoned, as they have been found not to have predictive value in respect of treatment or prognosis. The current approach is atheoretical. ICD-10 (http://www3.who.int/icd/currentversion/fr-icd.htm?kf00. htm+) just lists the symptoms as follows:

In typical mild, moderate, or severe depressive episodes, the patient suffers from lowering of mood, reduction of energy, and decrease in activity. Capacity for enjoyment, interest, and concentration is reduced, and marked tiredness after even minimum effort is common. Sleep is usually disturbed and appetite diminished. Self-esteem and self-confidence are almost always reduced and, even in the mild form, some ideas of guilt or worthlessness are often present. The lowered mood varies little from day to day, is unresponsive to circumstances and may be accompanied by 'somatic' symptoms, such as loss of interest and pleasurable feelings, waking in the morning several hours before the usual time, depression worst in the morning, marked psychomotor retardation, agitation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and loss of libido.

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