Major Depressive Disorder

Everyone occasionally feels sad and may even characterize their mood as depressed every once in a while; however, these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days.
 When you have clinical , it interferes with daily life and causes significant pain for both you and those who care about you.
(also called major and clinical ) is a mood disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.
 The symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy pleasurable activities.
DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria
 In order to be diagnosed with (MDD) in the DSM-5, a person must experience at least five listed symptoms over a two-week period.
 One of the symptoms must either be a depressed mood or an inability to experience pleasure in activities that were formerly enjoyed.
 The symptoms must significantly interfere with one or more areas of an individual’s life (such as work, relationships, school, etc.) and must not be directly caused by a medical condition or the use of substances.
 People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms, and the severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary. Common symptoms include the following:
• persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings;
• feelings of hopelessness or pessimism;
• feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or self-hatred;
• irritability, restlessness;
• loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex;
• fatigue;
• difficulty concentrating;
• insomnia, or excessive sleeping;
• overeating, or appetite loss;
• thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts;
• Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
 Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime.
 The average age of onset is 32 years old. Additionally, 3.3% of 13 to 18 year olds have experienced a seriously debilitating depressive disorder.
Causes of depression can be broken up into three categories: precipitating causes, perpetuating causes, and predisposing causes.
 A precipitating cause describes an immediate trigger that instigates a person’s action or behavior. This includes acute physical stresses such as diseases or infections, psychological stresses such as bereavement, and social stresses such as work problems or a significant change in social status or living conditions.
 A perpetuating cause is one that worsens an individual’s current condition and can be said to push someone “over the edge” into depression. This may include physical inactivity, emotional disorders, ongoing psychological or social stresses, and abnormalities of sleep.
 A predisposing cause typically describes an individual’s history, both genetic and environmental. For instance, being female and growing up in a lower socioeconomic status are both predisposing factors for depression. The preexisting vulnerability can be either genetic, implying an interaction between nature and nurture, or schematic, resulting from views of the world learned in childhood.
 Various aspects of personality and its development appear to be integral to the occurrence and persistence of depression, with negative emotionality as a common precursor.
 The biopsychosocial model proposes that biological, psychological, and social factors all play a role in causing depression.
 A depressive disorder can be classified as substance-induced if its etiology can be traced to the direct physiologic effects of a psychoactive drug or other chemical substance, or if the development of the depressive disorder occurred alongside substance intoxication or withdrawal.
 The three most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy, medication, and electroconvulsive therapy.
 Currently, the most effective form of psychotherapy for depression is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches clients to challenge self-defeating but enduring ways of thinking (cognitions) and change counter-productive behaviors.
 Antidepressants (usually SSRIs) have been shown to cause significant improvement in the mood of those with very severe depression.
 Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure whereby pulses of electricity are sent through the brain via two electrodes; studies have found it to be very effective in treating severe forms of depression that have not responded to medication or therapy.

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