What is Major Depressive Disorder? Facts That Matter Most!
Updated: Feb 4
When you are trying to solve a problem what is the first thing you do? Look at all the facts, right? We should use this same thought process when figuring out what to do about our depression.
More than likely, you have been dealing with the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder long before ever receiving a diagnosis. In this blog we’ll be laying out the need-to-know facts that will help guide you towards depression recovery.
What Is Major Depressive Disorder?
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is also known as “Clinical Depression.” It’s a highly annoying mood disorder that effects a person’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. It is a serious type of depression that can and will interfere with every aspect of your life, when left untreated. However, the fact you’re reading this tells me you are ready to give depression its walking papers once and for all. You are indeed a fighter friend!
What are the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder?
They don’t look too bad on paper but living with these symptoms is a beast that can be debilitating.
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness
Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling "slowed down"
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or oversleeping
Overeating or Loss of appetite. Weight Changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease even with treatment
Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
How is Major Depressive Disorder diagnosed?
A medical professional such as a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or nurse practitioner will diagnose you with MDD or Clinical Depression.
To be diagnosed with MDD you must experience 5 or more of the symptoms previously listed for a period of 2 weeks or more according to DSM-5 guidelines.
Who can develop MDD?
Adults, children, and teens. MDD does not discriminate. According to the National Institute of Health “more than 21 million adults in the United States have experienced at least one episode of Major Depression (NIH,2020) ”
You are not alone. Someone close to you has more than likely experience major depression as well.
Check these stats from the National Institute of Health website
What are the causes of MDD?
MDD is a complex disorder that can have a combination of the following contributing factors.
1) Genetics. Scientist have identified gene
2) Biological. This includes our brain chemical, hormones, and neurotransmitters (these transmit information throughout your body from one cell to another). Biological factors also include Prescription medications and recreational drugs.
3) Environmental. Research shows environmental factors such as climate, pollutants, and seasonal changes can be contributing factors.
4) Psychosocial: This includes social factors like support systems, upbringing, relationships, and work environments
What circumstances put someone at a higher risk to develop MDD?
1) Genetics. Family History of Mental illness: Sorry we don’t have much say with this one.
2) Childhood Trauma/ Traumatic Events: Mental, Physical, or Sexual Abuse. Abandonment. Neglect
3) Coexisting medical conditions. People who are also battling serious medical conditions are at a higher risk to develop Major Depression.
4) Medications: Unfortunately, some medication side effects increase the risk of depression.
5) Major life events like death, divorce, and big changes.
How is Major Depressive Disorder Treated?
Therapy: There are several types of therapy options available. Your doctor will create a treatment plan that fits your needs.
Medication: Antidepressants, Mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics are a few types of medications your doctor will discuss with you.
Lifestyle Changes: Practicing mindfulness, Self-Care, and Planning.
Is Major Depressive Disorder forever?
Major Depressive Disorder is treatable. However, in some cases the condition can be chronic and without treatment the person will experience recurring episodes of depression.
What should I do if I am struggling with depression?
Contact your doctor. Depression is medical condition that requires doctors care just like any medical condition. If experiencing suicidal thoughts call or text 988 or go to the nearest Emergency Room. If you are a child or teen, call or text 988, tell a parent, guidance counselor or another trusted adult.
Living with Major Depressive Disorder can be hard but not impossible. Be proud of yourself for taking the most important steps in starting your journey to better mental health. It’s a journey that will have its ups and down, but it will be a life changing journey. Now that you have an idea of what you are dealing with be sure to follow through with your doctor to create a treatment plan. You’ll also want to subscribe to the Sincerely Depression monthly newsletter for more tips, guides, and support for managing your depression. You are on the way to better days!
Sources: National Institute of Health. “Major Depression.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Jan. 2022, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.