Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorders: Clinical and Biological Perspectives

  • Marc Fakhoury


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious, debilitating mental illness of very high prevalence. It is characterized by a wide array of clinical symptoms that can have devastating impacts on the affected individual, including inability to work and even suicide. With the additional burden of severe social stigma, MDD constitutes a major financial weight for the health-care system worldwide. Although findings from genetic, molecular, and neuroimaging studies have helped decipher some of the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of MDD, the identification of causal mechanisms and treatment allocation has largely been hindered by the symptomatic diversity of this mental illness. Variability in clinical presentation may also interfere with the recognition of this disorder in primary care setting, making decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment plan rather difficult. A variety of biological markers have been shown to contribute to the etiology of MDD, however, the extent to which these biomarkers could help improve the reliability of diagnosis in clinical settings is still uncertain. This chapter discusses the clinical implications of using standardized diagnostic criteria such as those outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and presents several key biological markers that could be used to increase the recognition and effective management of depression.


Biomarkers Classification Diagnosis DSM-5 Major depressive disorders Pathophysiology 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada

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