What is Major Depression Disorder?
Major Depressive Disorder: Sadness is a natural part of human life. People may feel sad or depressed when a closed one passes away or when they’re going through a life shift, such as a divorce or serious illness. However, these feelings are normally short term. When someone exposure to persistent and intense feelings of sadness for long periods of time, then they may have a Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
Major Depression Disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2015, nearly 7% of Americans over age 18 had an episode of Major Depression Disorder.
There are many different types of major depressive disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder or SAD: Disease Directly caused by the time of the year. It occurs most often in the winter months
- Psychotic depression: often build up if you have been hallucinating or you believe in delusions that are not cohesive with reality.
- Postpartum depression is common among new mothers experiencing hormonal changes following childbirth.
- Melancholic depression: They often exhibit the most typical signs of depression including weight loss and decreased interest in activities they once loved.
- Catatonic Depression: Its most likely experiencing motor problems and behavioral issues. You might be immobilized or have involuntary movements.
What causes Major Depressive Disorder?
The exact cause of major depressive disorder isn’t known. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition. A combination of genes and stress can affect brain chemical balance and reduce the ability to maintain mood stability. Changes in the balance of hormones can also contribute to the development of major depressive disorder.
MDD may also be triggered by:
- alcohol and drug abuse.
- certain medical conditions, such as cancer or hypothyroidism.
- particular types of medications, including steroids.
What are Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms
Your doctor or a mental health professional can make a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis based on your symptoms, feelings, and behavior patterns. They will ask you some questions or give you a questionnaire so they can better find whether you have MDD.
To be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, you need to meet the symptom criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual helps Doctor diagnose mental health conditions. According to its criteria, you must have 5 or more of the following symptoms, and experience them at least once a day for a period of more than 2 weeks:
- You feel sad or irritable most of the time, nearly every day.
- You are less focused in most activities you once enjoyed.
- You suddenly lose or gain weight or have a change in appetite.
- You have trouble sleeping or want to sleep more than usual.
- You experience feelings of restlessness.
- You feel unusually tired and have less energy.
- You feel valueless or guilty, often about things that wouldn’t normally make you feel that way.
- You have difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
- You think about harming yourself or committing suicide.
Major Depressive Disorder Treatments
There are several treatments for major depressive disorder. These treatments include antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), and other somatic therapies. However, Electroconvulsive treatment is generally avoided, except in extreme circumstances, in favor of both psychotherapy and antidepressants. Doctor can provide both psychotherapy services and prescribe antidepressants, which differ for each person based on individual needs.
In addition to taking medications and participating in therapy, you can help improve major depressive disorder symptoms by making some changes to your daily habits.
Eating right, avoiding alcohol and certain processed foods, getting plenty of exercise, Sleeping well.
You should feel as though you have choices. You most likely will not have to be hampered by this disease and the negativity that often comes with symptoms of depression. Talking to a counselor and a medical professional is the first step to living a better, more fulfilling life.
Rebecca Marie, MA, LMHC, LPC, MAA is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is an expert in anxiety, stress, depression, and relationship issues.