• Miriam B. Rosenthal
Reference work entry

This widely used term may be referred to as a symptom, a syndrome, an illness, or a disorder. A depressive symptom refers to a temporary, subjective sense of sadness that everyone does experience at one time or another and it may be related to any condition. A depressive syndrome is defined as a collection of signs and symptoms, objective and subjective, that taken together is recognized as a condition that is less severe than a clear illness or disorder. A mood is a sustained emotion that one experiences subjectively but can be observed by others, while an affect is an emotion seen and noted by others only. Disturbances of mood and affect are very common and much of psychiatry is concerned with trying to define when a syndrome reaches a threshold for becoming an illness and requires treatment. Depressive illnesses require a certain severity and duration of the symptoms in order to qualify for a diagnosis. Many persons suffer a great deal from conditions that have not met formal...


Bipolar Disorder Anxiety Disorder Generalize Anxiety Disorder Major Depressive Disorder Postpartum Depression 
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Suggested Reading

  1. 1.
    Sadock, J. B., & Sadock, V. S. (2000). Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam B. Rosenthal

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