Melancholic Depression

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Melancholic Depression (also known as Depression with melancholic features) is a DSM-IV subtype of clinical depression. The specifier “with melancholic features” is applied if these features are present at the most severe stage of the episode. There is a near-complete absence of the capacity for pleasure, not merely a diminution. A guideline for evaluating the lack of reactivity of mood is that even highly desired events are not associated with marked brightening of mood. Either mood does not brighten at all, or it brightens only partially (e.g. - up to 20%-40% of normal for only minutes at a time). The “distinct quality” of mood that is characteristic of the “with melancholic features” specifier is experienced as qualitatively different from that during a nonmelancholic depressive episode. A depressed mood that is described as merely more severe, longer lasting, or present without a reason is not considered distinct in quality. Psychomotor changes are nearly always present and are observable by others. Melancholic features exhibit only a modest tendency to repeat across episodes in the same individual. They are more frequent in inpatients, as opposed to outpatients; are less likely to occur in milder than in more severe major depressive episodes; and are more likely to occur in those with psychotic features.