Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or clinical depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. MDD can change how you think and behave, causing challenges in daily activities.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), depressive disorders are a leading cause of mental disability in the world. In 2008, clinical depression ranked number three as the cause of the burden of disease worldwide.
How to identify major depressive disorder?
MDD is more than a mere feeling of sadness or melancholy. Patients with MDD usually face continuous and unrelenting feelings of despair. MDD affects mood and behavior patterns but can also affect how people live by altering their sleep habits and appetite.
In 2020, there were as many as an estimated 21 million adults (8.4% of all U.S. adults) with at least one major depressive episode.
While some people may experience only one episode of depression, most live through multiple spells of depression. Symptoms of depression can make it a very isolating experience. Many people describe the experience as exhausting - like wading through a jar of honey. However, depression may feel different for everyone.
Diagnosing major depressive disorder is based on the type and length of symptoms experienced by an individual. Your healthcare provider may diagnose you with MDD if you have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Persistently low or depressed mood
- Anhedonia or decreased interest in pleasurable activities
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Loss of libido
- Lack of energy and poor concentration
- Appetite changes and psychomotor retardation or agitation
- Sleep disturbances
- Reduced cognitive functioning (attention, decision-making, memory lapse)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Emotional numbness
- Physical problems, such as headaches and chronic pain or inflammation
What are the risks of major depressive disorder?
People with depression tend to have severe functional impairments affecting their interpersonal relationships. Additionally, depression can aggravate pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery disease.
For most people, untreated depression is the cause of a fall in their quality of life. Women are usually at higher risk of depressive disorders than men. In fact, almost twice as many women as men have major or clinical depression.
Depression in women can be brought on due to hormonal changes during puberty. Other causes include menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause.
On the other hand, while men are not immune from depression, the condition is significantly under-reported in men. In a large number of instances, men suffering from clinical depression are less likely to seek help.
How is major depressive disorder treated?
The severity and pattern of depressive episodes form the guideline for treatment. Psychological treatment options can include individual (or group) face-to-face talk therapy.
Standard treatment options for depressive disorders include the following.
Antidepressant medication usually forms the first line of treatment for depressive disorders. Many different types of antidepressant medication can be prescribed depending on your specific symptoms and response to past treatments.
Finding the best medication for your situation may be a gradual process of discovery. This is because it is based on your symptoms, response to medication, and sensitivity to side effects. Understanding your unique history is integral to identifying the treatment options that work for you.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is another popular form of intervention used for treating depression. Talk therapy sessions can be carried out in conjunction with the use of antidepressant medication. Therapy may be designed around recharging self-confidence and helping a patient feel in better control of their life.
The list of treatment options that have proven to be successful is constantly evolving. Combination treatment, including both medications and psychotherapy, ketamine infusions, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) may be viable options for you.
At Axis Integrated Mental Health, we design individualized treatment plans for every patient after considering their symptoms, history with depression, and overall health condition.
Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder in Denver, Colorado
If you have been experiencing a persistent feeling of sadness, anxiousness, or hopelessness, you may have severe clinical depression. While this is a serious situation, the good news is that proper care and treatment can help manage depression for most people.
Axis Integrated Mental Health in Denver provides a full suite of integrated mental health treatments under one roof. For appointments, call us at (720) 400-7025 or fill out our contact us form today.