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I Assessment of William Styron A Introduction to Major Depressive Disorder Unipolar depression is one of the most common forms of psychopathology According to the Epidemiologic Catchment Area ECA study the lifetime risk for major depressive disorder is approximately five percent Common symptoms of major depressive disorder include but are not limited to feelings of disappointment and despair fatigue loss of energy changes in appetite andor sleep disturbances feelings of worthlessness concentration problems thoughts of suicide slowed thinking and chronic tension or anxiety Depressed patients often subjectively describe the disorder as a feeling of drowning or suffocation B Application of Diagnostic DSM-IV Criteria The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV DSM-IV lists nine symptoms of major depressive disorder at least five of which must have been present during the same two week period and represent a change from previous functioning in order for a diagnosis to be made Also at least one of the symptoms must either be depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure William Styron author of Darkness Visible a Memoir of Madness clearly depicts all nine symptoms in his autobiographical account of depression The first of the nine symptoms listed in DSM-IV is depressed mood most of the day nearly every day as indicated by subjective report for example feels sad or empty or observation made by others for example appears tearful Styron repeatedly shows symptoms of and describes depressed mood He explains depression as the gloom pg 7 anxiety dread drowning suffocation the devastation taking place in my mind pg 49 intense misery numbness despair the gray drizzle of horror pg 50 desolation torture and suffering Others had noticed outward symptoms of Styrons depressed mood A photographer that had shot Styron for a magazine article called him back for a second shoot because the first photos were too full of anguish pg 58 Styron illustrates the pervasiveness of the disorder when he writes Sometimes I felt close to
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