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Tuesday 8 July 2014

Online Course Launch: Diagnosing Depression and Related Mood Disorders

Several months ago we launched the online course “What is Depression?” for the general public. It provides information on each of the major mood disorders and their symptoms, as well as an overview of depression epidemiology. This course has done very well, attracting over 800 students in a remarkably short period of time. We still have a 40% offer for that course, enabling people to take it for $12 instead of $20. Here’s the link:

Now we have launched a companion course, this time designed for healthcare professionals. The course is called “Diagnosing Depression and Related Mood Disorders” and is available for $15, which is 40% off the list price of $25. Here's the link for the discount:

Here’s the preview video:

About the Course

Diagnosing Depression provides over 2.5 hours of content spread over 17 brief lectures, plus 30 pages of course notes in downloadable pdf format.

The course is designed for healthcare professionals (and students in healthcare professions) wishing to learn more about the mood disorders and their diagnosis in clinical settings. The emphasis is on the symptoms and the experience of mood disorders, rather than on causes or treatment strategies. Much of the course is geared toward diagnosis, using the formal manual criteria to evaluate client behavior and reported symptoms in the clinical setting.

Course Goals

  • Identify the formal diagnostic criteria for each of the major mood disorders, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder (1 and 2), cyclothymia, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), and the related categories.
  • Learn strategy for assessing major depressive episode, manic episode, and hypomanic episode.
  • Learn how the various criteria translate into actual in-office client presentation, and how to make the "line calls" between clinical and subclinical presentations.
  • Learn the additional non-diagnostic symptoms associated with depressive episodes and major depression, to develop an understanding of the internal lived experience of these disorders.
  • Learn about the basics of mood disorder epidemiology.
  • Understand current controversies in the field of mood disorder diagnosis, including: Arguments about the utility of diagnosis in guiding treatment decisions; the controversy about the elimination of the bereavement exclusion for Major Depressive Disorder in the most recent revision of the diagnostic manual; and the problems associated with diagnosis of hypomanic episode, particularly in the young, and the apparent trend toward overdiagnosis of bipolar 2 disorder.

Sample Lecture Topics

The Floating Diamond Model - A strategy for parsing the depressive experience into physiological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects. This is useful conceptually for clinicians, patients/clients, and family/friends/supporters.

Major Depressive Episode - Separated into lectures on a) the critical mood-related criteria, and b) the remaining criteria.

Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder.

Nondiagnostic experiential aspects of the depression experience; and an examination of the manner in which symptoms self-perpetuate and magnify one another ("snowballs and reverberations").

Minor depression and dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder - Including diagnostic criteria for the latter.

Bipolar disorders - Including strategies for diagnosis of manic and hypomanic episodes, bipolar 1 and 2 disorder, and cyclothymia.

Other mood disorders - Including premenstrual dysphoric disorder and the array of "miscellaneous" categories for individuals who do not meet criteria for the primary syndromes.

Epidemiology - A brief consideration of issues such as gender ratio, age of onset, cost of mood disorders to society, and the possibility that mood disorders are increasing in prevalence.

Group Rates

Group practices, employee assistance firms, HMOs, public agencies, professional organizations, and health regions may wish to purchase multiple spaces for their own employees. We are able to arrange discounts for groups of more than 5, with steadily greater discounts for groups of over 10, 50, 100, and 500 employees. To discuss the program or arrange a group discount, simply contact us.