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The Varied Clinical Presentations of Major Depressive Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 2007;68(suppl 8):4-10

DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) is a clinical syndrome notable for heterogeneity of its clinical presentation, genetics, neurobiology, clinical course, and treatment responsiveness. In an attempt to make sense of this heterogeneity, clinicians and researchers have proposed a number of MDD "subtypes" based on differences in characteristic symptoms (e.g., atypical, melancholic, psychotic), onset (e.g., early vs. late, postpartum, seasonal), course of illness (e.g., single vs. recurrent, chronic, double), and severity. This article provides a brief review of the status of several of the most common subtypes in terms of their clinical features, biological correlates, course of illness, and treatment implications.