A. Criteria, except for duration, are met for a Major Depressive Episode.
B. The depressive periods in Criterion A last at least 2 days but less than 2 weeks.
C. The depressive periods occur at least once a month for 12 consecutive months and are not associated with the menstrual cycle.
D. The periods of depressed mood cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
E. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).
F. There has never been a Major Depressive Episode, and criteria are not met for Dysthymic Disorder.
G. There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode, and criteria are not met for Cyclothymic Disorder. Note: This exclusion does not apply if all of the manic-, mixed-, or hypomanic-like episodes are substance or treatment induced.
In DSM-IV, individuals whose presentation meets these research criteria would be diagnosed as having Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
An episode of recurrent brief depressive disorder is distinguished from a Major Depressive Episode by the duration of the episode (2-13 days for a brief depressive episode and 2 weeks or longer for a Major Depressive Episode). Recurrent brief depressive disorder is considered to be a residual category and is not to be used if there is a history of a Major Depressive Episode, Manic Episode, Mixed Episode, or Hypomanic Episode, or if criteria are met for Cyclothymic Disorder or Dysthymic Disorder.
Substance-Induced Mood Disorder is distinguished from this disturbance in that the depressive symptoms are due to the direct physiological effects of a drug of abuse (e.g., alcohol or cocaine) or the side effects of a medication (e.g., steroids).
Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition is distinguished from this disturbance in that the depressive symptoms are due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).
Because depressive symptoms are common associated features of psychotic disorders, they do not receive a separate diagnosis if they occur exclusively during Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
Recurrent brief depressive disorder shares some clinical features with Borderline Personality Disorder (i.e., both disorders manifest brief and episodic depressive symptoms such as suicidal ideation or sadness). In cases where a Personality Disorder and this proposed disorder are both present, both may be noted (with recurrent brief depressive disorder noted as Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).
Other mental disorders
The relationship between this proposed disorder and several other proposed categories (i.e., minor depressive disorder, depressive personality disorder, and mixed anxiety-depressive disorder) and with other Personality Disorders is not known, but substantial overlap may exist among them.