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Depression and Anxiety Disorders

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Criteria for depression and anxiety disorders from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth revision


Major depression

Persistent low mood or loss of interest in most activities for at least two weeks, including some of the following, totalling at least five symptoms

  • Weight change
  • Altered sleep pattern
  • Lack of energy
  • Poor concentration
  • Agitation
  • Reduced self esteem
  • Suicidal ideas or plans

Minor depression

Three or four symptoms for two or more weeks

Anxiety disorders

General features include

  • Autonomic arousal
  • Physiological reactivity
  • Tremor or shaking
  • Avoidance behaviour
  • Hypervigilance


Panic disorder

Recurrent spontaneous panic attacks with anticipatory anxiety between attacks and closely associated with agoraphobia

Generalised anxiety disorder

Prolonged periods of excess worry and tension

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Intrusive flashbacks, hypervigilance, and avoidance behaviour after a traumatic stressor

Social anxiety disorder

Fears specific to social situations and characterised by fearfulness, excessive blushing, and avoidance behaviour