Chronic major depression can be diagnosed as a form of Major Depressive Disorder. This specifier applies to the current or most recent Major Depressive Episode in Major Depressive Disorder and to a Major Depressive Episode in Bipolar I or Bipolar II Disorder only if it is the most recent type of mood episode.

The full criteria for a Major Depressive Episode have been met continuously for at least the past 2 years in order for the “Chronic specifier” to be used.