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This chapter deals with the diagnosis of mood disorders. The adoption of a lumping strategy for mood disorders, particularly for classifying depressive disorders, reflects the perspective of depression as a unitary construct that represents a final common pathway derived from a variety of etiological and pathophysiological sources, which accounts for the shared clinical features seen in the heterogeneous groups of depressive disorders. A diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE) is made by recognizing the characteristic syndrome of symptoms that cluster together during the same period of time. The hallmark of manic and hypomanic episodes is a discrete period of abnormally elevated, euphoric, expansive, or irritable mood that persists for at least a week in the case of mania or at least 4 days in the case of hypomania. Major depressive disorder is characterized by one or more major depressive episodes.
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