Depressive disorders is a broad term that captures two diagnoses: Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder (formerly Dysthymic Disorder). Both are characterised by:

  • Chronically low or depressed mood,
  • Loss of interest in usual or previously enjoyable activities,
  • Changes in sleep and/or appetite,
  • Fatigue or loss of energy,
  • Feelings of hopelessness.

Individuals with depressive disorders typically experience these feelings more days than not, for periods of two weeks (major depressive disorder) or years (persistent depressive disorder). Individuals with depressive disorders may also experience feelings of low self-esteem.

It is estimated that approximately 17% of the Australian population will experience a depressive disorder at some point in their lives.


Depressive Disorders can be treated effectively through Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy or medications. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy has shown to be particularly effective in treating depressive disorders.