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Longitudinal is a term that is used to describe (or specify) the course of of some mood disorders. It describes whether or not someone fully recovers between different mood episodes.

Longitudinal course specifiers in the DSMEdit

The DSM uses longitudinal course specifiers to describe the following mood disorders:

A person can experience either of the following:

  • With full interepisode recovery - if full remission occurs between the last two mood episodes
  • Without full interepisode recovery - if full remission does not occur between the last two mood episodes

The second specifier can be similar to double depression, when both major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder are present. It depends on which mood disorder occurred first. If dysthymic disorder was present and then major depressive disorder developed, it is referred to as double depression. If major depressive disorder was present which developed into dysthymic disorder, it is usually considered major depressive disorder in remission.


Mood disorders as diagnosed by the DSM edit
Mood episodes: Major depressive episode Manic episode Mixed episode Hypomanic episode

Depressive disorders: Major depressive disorder Dysthymic disorder Depressive disorder NOS (PMDD)

Bipolar disorders: Bipolar I disorder Bipolar II disorder Cyclothymic disorder Bipolar disorder NOS

Other mood disorders: Mood disorder due to a general medical condition Substance-induced mood disorder Mood disorder NOS

Episode specifiers: Severity Psychotic Remission Chronic Catatonic Melancholic Atypical Postpartum

Course specifiers: Longitudinal Seasonal (SAD) Rapid cycling

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