Month: March 2021

Frequently Asked Questions About Depression NOS

As a psychologist with over a decade of experience, people would often say that there was perhaps no mental disorder that I could not diagnose. For instance, there was a time when a young girl at my kids’ school kept bullying her teachers and classmates, to the extent that they all cry because of her. Others thought she was simply a brat, but I found out that she had a rare condition called alexithymia, which meant that the girl could not feel emotions.


Another time, our town dealt with a young man who kept digging graves throughout the cemetery. Everyone assumed that he was a burglar at first, but he did not take anything from the corpses. When the police asked me to come over and talk to the man, I learned that he had Cotard’s delusion. Meaning he was digging a grave for him as he thought he was already dead.

Despite my success in the psychology world, there was still one subcategory that I could not master – Not Otherwise Specified (NOS). NOS appeared in all kinds of mental disorders, but it always eluded me because of the different symptoms that it came with. Just recently, I diagnosed a patient with depression because she felt hopeless and was almost suicidal. A month after that, I had to take it back and say that she had anxiety as I observed that she only felt hopeless around high-achieving people. But then, she also had delusional symptoms, which made me realize that she had depression NOS.  

What is NOS in mental health? 

NOS stands for Not Otherwise Specified in mental health. This abbreviation is used by psychologists or psychiatrists when they come across a patient who shows some symptoms of a mental disorder but not all. In that case, mental health professionals need to conduct more assessments before they can make a diagnosis. 

The NOS subcategory is typically heard when a person has depression or eating, personality, or psychotic disorder.

What is NOS illness? 

The Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) illness is the technical term that appeared on the DSM-IV and is connected to various categories of mental disorders. This is essential, given that many people tend to exhibit signs of a mental condition. Still, they are not enough for mental health professionals to conclude what kind of disorder they have.


Let’s take bipolar disorder NOS as an example. When a psychiatrist or psychologist says that you have this illness, it can mean that you show manic symptoms and a few depressive symptoms or vice versa. Thus, you may be bipolar, but you do not tick off all the signs, so you may have some type of bipolar disorder that the experts may not have a name for yet.

What does unspecified disorder mean? 

The term “unspecified disorder” can be seen in APA’s DSM-V. Getting diagnosed with this condition means that your behavior, thoughts, and emotions may be akin to individuals with known mental disorders. However, given that you exhibit other mental disorders symptoms, the psychiatrist or psychologist needs to say that you have an unspecified disorder.

What is the F code for depression? 

According to the tenth version of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), F32.0 is the code for a mild form of depression that has only occurred once. The decimal point goes up when you mix this major depressive disorder with or without psychotic behavior or unspecified symptoms. Then, it graduates to F33 if depression becomes recurrent.

What is NOS anxiety disorder? 

Anxiety disorder NOS means that individuals show recurring fear, stress, and agitation, so they technically have anxiety. The problem is that some of the other symptoms they exhibit may not fall under a single category. Thus, it entails that the patients have an unspecified anxiety disorder.

Can you be mildly autistic? 

Yes, you can be mildly autistic. The autism spectrum is so vast that the people around you may not recognize the impairments immediately or at all, especially if you do not exhibit the known symptoms like living in your own world or experiencing sensory overload. In truth, that typically happens to high-functioning individuals with Asperger’s syndrome. 


What does Level 1 autism look like? 

When you have level 1 autism, you can almost pass as an average person. The primary giveaway is perhaps your need for communication support. Having this condition entails that you may not be able to catch the sarcasm, warning, or even jokes. Nonetheless, you can understand school lessons and get a regular education.

What is the mildest form of autism? 

Level 1 autism refers to a mild form of autism, which practically means that their symptoms can be too subtle that you may not even realize that they exist. This is one of the many reasons why people with Asperger’s syndrome and other high-functioning disorders get a late diagnosis. 

What does anxiety F41.9 mean? 

F41.9 refers to an unspecified form of anxiety disorder. This is a billable code that patients may use when they wish to ask the insurance company to reimburse their mental health expenses.

Despite the ICD-10 code though, the lack of specificity may make the reimbursement process challenging. 

What is the difference between specified and unspecified disorders? 

Unspecified disorders refer to psychiatric conditions that seem to fall under a specific category but do not cover all subcategory symptoms. For instance, you have bipolar disorder, but you show more depressive than manic symptoms. Meanwhile, specified disorders denote known illnesses that meet all the symptoms mentioned in the DSM-V.

Another term you may see in the guide is “other specified disorder.” It means that the psychiatrist is aware that the patient does not have to warrant a complete diagnosis.


Final Thoughts

The reality is that depression NOS is more common than we all realize. However, since the term is unknown to many, people tend to categorize a set of symptoms under a single condition, even though other symptoms do not fit the bill.

My suggestion is that if you feel deep down that your mental disorder is more than depression, anxiety, or another illness, try to get a second or fourth opinion to ensure that you are not getting treated for the wrong condition.

Frequently Asked Questions About Postpartum Depression

I do not understand how depression works since I am not the typical type of person who easily gets distracted from my emotional stress. I often find myself positively aware of my surroundings. That’s why I can somehow look closely into my decision-making abilities. As much as I can, I make sure to stay emotionally stable because I know that I can get anxious and stressed when my emotions are not in place.

However, after giving birth last week, things became slightly different as I often find myself lonely, confused, and a bit depressed. I tried working on my mental health by exercising and getting enough sleep, but these habits are not helping me. Ever since I got home from the hospital, I know there is something wrong with me. I was certain that I am experiencing postpartum depression. To understand what I am dealing with, I asked my doctor more about this mental health issue. That is where she explained everything to me. Below are the answered frequently asked questions that my doctor and I discussed.


How long is the postpartum period? 

The postpartum period commonly refers to the month and a half or six weeks after childbirth. It is a crucial time for both the mother and her newborn baby as both of them are adjusting to the changed involvement in the family. In the postpartum period, the first few hours and days after childbirth, a mother will experience physical and emotional changes.

That explains all the sudden mood changes I experienced within a week. It was all because I have mental and emotional instability. But if you would ask me if I should be worried about this particular situation? The answer is that my therapist and I will be seeing each other for at least a couple of sessions more.

 How long do mood swings after birth last? 

Having a cute newborn baby is something that most women entirely appreciate. It is as if they are blessed with an angel. However, feelings are not the same in general. That is because most new moms will get the baby blues. It is a state where hormonal changes cause a different anxiety level, leading to a lot of crying and restlessness. Though these can go away within the first two weeks after giving birth, some mothers experience lasting emotional and mental effects.

Well, as for me, I don’t think I should wait for a few more weeks before finally realizing that my postpartum depression is already severe. Whether I am dealing with right now is just what people call baby blues, I still want to get rid of this mental health problem as soon as possible.

 When should you be concerned after giving birth? 

It is entirely essential to pay attention to the warning signs of possible complications after giving birth. You have to immediately contact a health care provider as soon as possible if you experience some medical issues. These include heavy bleeding. It is like soaking through more than one pad in an hour or noticing large blood clots that come out of your private area. A red or swollen leg feels warm or painful when you touch it, and an unexplained feeling of restlessness, headaches, and sudden fever.


 Is postpartum considered a disability?

Under ADA or the Americans with Disability Act, pregnancy is not a disability. However, pregnancy-related impairments caused by postpartum depression can be considered. That is because this type of mental health issue often causes hardship to new moms. It becomes widely accepted as a disability because of the nature of the mental condition’s effects on women’s health. They continue to engage in self-inflicting harm and even suicide.

 Can you get a short-term disability for postpartum? 

Postpartum affects 1-2 out of 1000 women. While people see it as a low rate condition, its effects can be entirely miserable for the affected women. As with other types of mental health issues, women with postpartum depression can apply for short-term disability or long-term disability benefits.

 Can you get PIP for postnatal depression? 

When dealing with mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, and these affect you in any way you can no longer see yourself functioning the way you are supposed to, you should be eligible for PIP or Personal Independence Payment. As long as you can verify that your mental health causes daily living or mobility issues, then you can apply for the said benefits.

 Does anyone get PIP for mental health? 

People under financial and psychological pressure often end up struggling with circumstances are at risk of increased levels of anxiety, stress, or depression. Unfortunately, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is not awarded to individuals with a physical or mental health condition. Typically, it gets based on the level of help individuals needs resulting from their condition. Thus, individuals can only guarantee a PIP if they have daily living and mobility needs due to their mental illness.

 How do I pass a PIP assessment for mental health? 

You will be assessed for PIP depending on the level of help you need to complete certain activities. These are categorized into two components, such as daily living and mobility. To pass PIP, you need to obtain a total number of points, and these will decide if you are entitled to PIP or not, including how much money you should be able to receive.



I know it can be quite overreacting to say that your unexplained sadness and mood changes are entirely related to depression to all the new moms out there. I might be wrong with that information. But would it be nice to know and understand your thoughts and feelings, especially when you are uncertain about them? Remember, not because it does not hurt you for the first few weeks, it does not mean you are exempted from having postpartum depression. It would be nice to pay attention to the warning signs and do not let them slip away. Ensure your overall well-being and prioritize it as much as possible, not only for your sake but for the sake of your family and newborn baby.