Major Depressive Disorder

Everyone experiences feelings of hopelessness or sadness from time to time, but these are usually fleeting and pass relatively quickly. When a person has a major depressive disorder, these feelings interfere with their daily lives, causing pain for the person with the disease and for those who care about them. Depression is a common but serious condition and most people who experience it need treatment to improve their condition.

Many people with who suffer from a depressive illness don't seek treatment. The vast majority though, even those with the most severe cases, can get better with treatment. Intensive research into the disease has resulted in the development of medications, psychotherapies, and other methods to treat people with this debilitating disorder.

We can characterise a major depressive disorder by an array of symptoms that affect a person's ability to work, sleep, eat, study, and enjoy activities. Major depression is debilitating and prevents you from functioning normally in your everyday life. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person's life, but more often than not, it recurs throughout your lifetime.

There are many different types of depression; like how you may feel happier in specific situations and sadder in others, depression can range from being mild to severe as well.

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder can include:

  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain due to changes in appetite
  • Changed sleeping patterns
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Excessive guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (like pacing)
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

To diagnose Major Depressive Disorder, at least five of the above symptoms need to present for at least two weeks. The symptoms need to be present for most of the two-week duration and must include a depressed mood or loss of interest in enjoyable activities.