Major depression also known as major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterized by a continual feeling of sadness or a lack of interest. This extremely complex disease is poorly understood and is thought to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors.It’s a serious condition that affects the patient’s ability to work, eat, and go about their lives. Therefore it is important to know about major depressive disorder symptoms and its treatment.
- You will be shocked to know that approximately 300 million people worldwide are suffering from depression.
- Major Depressive Disorder can also lead to death if it gets worse
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is the most depressed country in the world, followed by China and the USA. India, China and the US are the countries most affected by anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. According to a WHO study, about 6.5% of the Indian population suffers from some form of a serious mental disorder, with no discernible rural-urban differences.
Though there are effective measures and treatments, there is an extreme shortage of mental health workers like psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors. “The average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every lakh people and the majority of people who commit suicide are below 44 years of age.”
Major Depressive Disorder, Gender Distribution
In general, major depression is a serious issue for both genders and if left untreated, can have lethal results. There are various reasons why women find themselves more commonly prone to major depressive disorder. It occurs due to reasons which may vary, like pregnancy to more chronic or recurring problems.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 25% of cancer patients, 1/3 of HIV patients, and 1/3 of heart attack survivors experience major depression.
The reason for women experiencing major depression more than men is fluctuating hormones and genetic predisposition, particularity around the times of puberty, childbirth, and menopause.
Types of MDD
There are many different types of major depressive disorder that can affect you and can make your daily life difficult.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) : This type of depression disorder occurs at any time of the year. Mostly, it occurs in the winter months when sunlight is not as readily available.
- Psychotic depression: This type of MDD develops if you experience hallucinations or you believe in delusions that are not consistent with reality. This type of depression can occur due to a traumatic event or if you have already had some form of depression in the past.
- Postpartum depression: This type of depression is experienced by new mothers due to hormonal changes following childbirth. It occurs due to stress of raising a newborn child and the associated changes in the body which can greatly affect the mood.
- Atypical depression: It is often directly related to your mood and your interactions with others. Symptoms include hypersomnia, heaviness in the limbs, and social anxiety.
- Catatonic depression: This is another type of depression in which you experience motor problems and behavioral issues.
Causes of Major Depressive Disorder
One of the major causes of this disorder is due to co-occurring illness and medical conditions. Apart from these, the following causes of the disorder itself can cause depression.
- Change in your daily appetite may be due to overeating, or under-eating
- Deregulation in your sleep schedule or offsetting your circadian rhythms
- The extent that anatomical and physiological factors have on major depression is unknown, but it is thought to be significant.
- Some socioeconomic factors like (the loss of a job) are also considered as a major reason for the disorder.
Also, read about – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Everything You Should
Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms
Various factors contribute to depression. The major depressive disorder symptoms usually manifest themselves as coping behaviors and reactions to how you feel. Depending on the type of depression you can experience various symptoms:
- Persistent negative thinking
- Inability to focus on daily activities
- Exhaustion and lethargy
- Continuous suicidal tendency
- Weight loss or gain
Diagnosis of MDD
MDD is diagnosed by ordering following tests:
- A thorough physical examination: This is mostly done in order to check your health status. This is important as depression may be linked to an underlying physical health problem.
- Psychiatric evaluation: A psychiatric evaluation can be useful to determine symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire to help answer these questions.
Major Depressive Disorder Treatment
Did you know, depression can also lead to death if it gets worse? Fortunately, major depression is well understood in the medical community and is often easily treatable through a combination of medication and talk therapy. There are various treatment approaches for major depressive disorder. These include psychotherapy, electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), and other somatic therapies.
A psychiatrist can prescribe psychotherapy along with some antidepressants, which differs from person to person. Antidepressant medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) along with atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants are mostly prescribed to ease the symptoms to some extent.
Additionally, if you have severe depression, hospital stay may also be required until your symptoms improve.
Thus, if you experience MDD following a traumatic event, it is important to seek medical attention. You can easily cope up with this condition by following proper treatment, support and moving ahead with your life.
Related Read- PTSD Meaning: Life With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder