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How Bad Is Major Depressive Disorder

How Is Depression Treated

What Is Major Depressive Disorder? | Mood Disorders

Treatment for depression may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Medicine. Antidepressants work by affecting the brain chemicals. Know that it takes 4 to 6 weeks for these medicines to have a full effect. Keep taking the medicine, even if it doesnt seem to be working at first. Never stop taking your medicine without first talking to your healthcare provider. Some people have to switch medicines or add medicines to get results. Work closely with your healthcare provider to find treatment that works for you.

  • Therapy. This is most often cognitive behavioral and/or interpersonal therapy. It focuses on changing the distorted views you have of yourself and your situation. It also works to improve relationships, and identify and manage stressors in your life.

  • Electroconvulsive therapy . This treatment may be used to treat severe, life-threatening depression that has not responded to medicines. A mild electrical current is passed through the brain. This triggers a brief seizure. For unknown reasons, the seizures help restore the normal balance of chemicals in the brain and ease symptoms.

With treatment, you should feel better within a few weeks. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years. Continued treatment may help to prevent depression from appearing again.

How Many People Are Diagnosed With Depression

Around 17.3 million US adults have had at least one major depressive episode.2 Some 20% of women and between 10 and 12% of men will experience depression at least once in their life, says says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University.

Depression is relatively rare during childhood and comparably distributed across the genders, Hollon adds. The rates just explode during adolescence and that is when gender disparities first emerge. And, he adds, Half of all the folks who are going to be diagnosed with major depression at some point will have at least one episode during adolescence.

Learn More About Depression

Depression can make you feel alone but you have lots of company. Major depressive disorder , the clinical term for depression, is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting an estimated 350 million people in all age groups. You should know that depression isnt the same as being sad. Its normal to feel blue or unmotivated from time to time, but depression is more constant. And, it has a real, biological basis.

Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

The above quiz is based on the Patient Health Questionnaire . If you think you may be suffering from Depression and/or you are experiencing a mental health crisis, we strongly suggest that you reach out to to a qualified mental health professional. To aid in your search please consider our directory of emergency mental health resources.

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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Also visit the online treatment locator.

C& p Exam For Major Depressive Disorder Tips

Major Depressive Disorder: What You Need to Know

1. Know whats in your medical records!

2. Review your Disability Benefit Questionnaire

3. Review the eCFR, Title 38, Schedule 4 for MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER and other mental health symptoms and ratings

4. Do NOT have your best day

5. Be uncomfortably vulnerable

6. Know your true story coldand potential in-service stressors that caused or made your MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER and/or other mental health conditions worse.

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What Is Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is a serious form of mental illness that impacts more than just a persons mood. It affects the way a person:

  • Thinks
  • Feels
  • Manages their life

A diagnosis of clinical depression means that a person has symptoms that interfere with the ability to function at work and home, which adversely impacts the way a person is able to enjoy hobbies and leisure activities, socialization, relationships, and more.

Clinical depression involves more than just emotions, it encompasses physical symptomssuch as inability to sleep and loss of appetiteas well. Its important to note that clinical depression is a set of signs and symptoms that may reflect a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Who Has The Highest Rate Of Depression

Adult women have a higher rate of depression at any given point in time as compared to adult men . The age group that has the most adults who have had a major depressive episode in the past year is the 18 to 25 age group.4

Children and teenagers get depressed, too, but it can be tricky to diagnose, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. We know that between 2% and 6% of children experience depression, he says. About 14% of teenagers age 12 to 17 will experience one episode of major depression. And about 9% of teenagers report a major depressive episode in a given year.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder

Your doctor or a mental health professional can diagnose major depressive disorder based on your symptoms, feelings, and behaviors.

Typically, youll be asked specific questions or given a questionnaire so health professionals can better determine whether you have MDD or another condition.

To be diagnosed with MDD, you need to meet the symptom criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition . This manual helps medical professionals diagnose mental health conditions.

According to its criteria:

  • you must experience a change in your previous functioning
  • symptoms must occur for a period of 2 or more weeks
  • at least one symptom is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure

You must also experience 5 or more of the following symptoms in the 2-week period:

  • You feel sad or irritable most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Youre less interested in most activities you once enjoyed.
  • You suddenly lose or gain weight or have a change in appetite.
  • You have trouble falling asleep or want to sleep more than usual.
  • You experience feelings of restlessness.
  • You feel unusually tired and have a lack of energy.
  • You feel worthless or guilty, often about things that wouldnt usually make you feel that way.
  • You have difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
  • You think about harming yourself or suicide.

Symptoms parents should be aware of in their teens include the following:

What Are The Causes Of Depression

Clinical Depression Signs & Symptoms (& How It’s Diagnosed)

Genetic causes of depression

First-degree relatives of depressed individuals are about three times as likely to develop depression

External stressors causing depression

  • Major life changes divorce, loss of employment, etc.

Risk-factor interactions that cause depression

The relationship between genetic vulnerability, environmental stressors and brain structural abnormalities are risk factor interactions in the development of depression.

Neuroendocrine abnormalities and neurodegenerative diseases

Abnormalities of the neurotransmitter systems may cause depression.Neurodegenerative diseases , stroke, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, cancer and chronic pain have been associated with higher rates of depression

Vascular depression

Medical problems that affect blood flow to the brain may also trigger depression:

  • Patients experience a higher incidence of depression following a stroke
  • Higher prevalence of ischemic brain changes exist in older adults with depression
  • A strong association exists between depression and heart disease as well as depression and diabetes
  • Higher rates of depression exist among patients with vascular dementia
  • Mood instability

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Symptoms And Diagnosis By Age

The type, length, and severity of symptoms vary between individuals.

When diagnosing depression, a doctor will use a questionnaire to evaluate symptoms as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Clinical depression can affect anyone, but common symptoms change slightly between age groups. There are separate questionnaires for children and adults.

A diagnostic questionnaire asks how symptoms have affected the person over the previous 2 weeks.

There are five ways a person can respond to each symptom, ranging from no effect to causing problems almost every day.

An evaluation for depression might include questions about other psychological features, including:

  • anger
  • repetitive thoughts and behaviors
  • substance use

Psychiatric domains for children and teens also include irritability and attention. Adult domains include personality function, memory, and dissociation.

Questions about symptoms are categorized under psychiatric domains.

How Accurate Is It

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

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Genetics Biology And Environment

  • Genetics: Like other mood disorders, genetics can cause clinical depression. People are more prone to the disorder if members of their family experienced it.
  • Biology: According to a 2018 article , changes in brain structure can occur as a person ages. This may increase the risk of depression.
  • Environment: Environmental factors such as trauma or a significant loss may trigger stress, anxiety, and depression in people who have genetic features that increase their risk.

Moderately Depressed Group Vs Severely Depressed Group

Mood Episodes In Bipolar Disorder: What Is Typical For A ...

Group means were found to be significantly different for depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure , feelings of worthlessness/excessive guilt, and suicidality. The smallest Wilk’s was found for suicidality followed by anhedonia. The highest value was fatigue. The analysis of the standardized canonical coefficients indicated that suicidality was the most reliable variable for discriminating between the groups, followed by anhedonia. The smallest discriminant ability was found for fatigue. The pooled within-groups correlations identified the large correlations with the DF . The lowest was fatigue.

The following discriminant function was deduced from the analysis: DF = 3.078 + + + + .

The canonical discriminate function reached an eigenvalue of 0.261. Therefore, the DF significantly separated the two groups. Based on the DF formula, subjects with DF > 0 were classified as Severely Depressed and subjects with DF < 0 were classified as Moderately Depressed with 72.7% accuracy.

Taken together, the somatic DSM-5 items discriminated Moderately Depressed from Non-depressed and all the affective items discriminated Moderately Depressed from Severely Depressed groups .

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Can Major Depression Be Prevented

Once you have had an episode of major depression, you are at high risk of having another. The best way to prevent another episode of depression is to be aware of the triggers or causes of major depression and to continue taking the prescribed medication to avoid relapse. It is also important to know what the symptoms of major depression are and to talk with your doctor early if you have any of these symptoms.

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How Is Depression Syndrome Treated

Depression can be serious, but its also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:

  • Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
  • Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
  • Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
  • Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they dont, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
  • Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy , transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation .

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Possible Complications Of Depression & Addiction

Depression can lead to many serious consequences, and depression usually worsens if untreated.2 Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness may lead the individual to engage in self-defeating behaviors and unhealthy lifestyle choices .

Depression is associated with physical health problems such as:2,10,11

  • Pain.
  • Diabetes.
  • Coronary artery disease.

At least some of the connection between depression and these issues may be because individuals with depression tend to have unhealthy eating patterns, exercise less, and have difficulties taking care of their health.10

Other possible complications linked to depression include:2

  • Substance misuse.
  • Other mental illnesses .
  • Self-harm .
  • Suicide attempts/death by suicide.*

*WHO reports that suicide is the second-leading cause of death in individuals aged 1529 and that nearly 800,000 people die by suicide each year.

Research has shown that areas of the brain known as the amygdala, hippocampus, and thalamus play an important role in depression. Some depressed people have a smaller hippocampus, which may be due to stress impairing the creation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus. This may also be related to how antidepressants work, as some animal studies have found that antidepressants can prompt nerve cells in the hippocampus to grow and branch.12

Statistical Methods And Measurement Caveats

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) | Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Diagnostic Assessment:


  • The entirety of NSDUH respondents for the major depressive episode estimates is the civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 12-17 and 18 years old or older residing within the United States.
  • The survey covers residents of households and persons in non-institutional group quarters .
  • The survey does not cover persons who, for the entire year, had no fixed address were on active military duty or who resided in institutional group quarters .
  • Some adults and adolescents in these excluded categories may have had a major depressive episode in the past year, but they are not accounted for in the NSDUH major depressive episode estimates.
  • Sex was recorded by the interviewer.

Interview Response and Completion:

  • In 2019, 35.1% of the selected NSDUH sample did not complete the interview.
  • Reasons for non-response to interviewing include: refusal to participate respondent unavailable or no one at home and other reasons such as physical/mental incompetence or language barriers .
  • Adults and adolescents with major depressive episode may disproportionately fall into these non-response categories. While NSDUH weighting includes non-response adjustments to reduce bias, these adjustments may not fully account for differential non-response by mental illness status.

Please see the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Methodological Summary and Definitions report for further information on how these data were collected and calculated.

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Personal Factors That Can Lead To Depression

Personal factors that can lead to a risk of depression include:

  • family history depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, this doesnt mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the condition.
  • personality some people may be more at risk because of their personality, particularly if they tend to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative
  • serious medical conditions these can trigger depression in two ways. Serious conditions can bring about depression directly or can contribute to depression through the associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long-term management of a condition or chronic pain
  • drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.

How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed

Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.

To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.

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How To Recognize Depression

The condition may vary from mild to severe and can include several symptoms, including:

  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in previous activities
  • Change in appetite
  • Problems in sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Inability to concentrate, think or make decisions
  • Suicide or death thoughts

Some of the most common types of depression include:

Are Women At Higher Risk For Major Depression

7 Signs You Might Have Persistent Depressive Disorder

Almost twice as many women as men have major or clinical depression hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause, may increase the risk.

Other factors that boost the risk of clinical depression in women who are biologically vulnerable to it include increased stress at home or at work, balancing family life with career, and caring for an aging parent. Raising a child alone will also increase the risk.

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Untreated Depression Is A Common Cause Of Suicide

The proper diagnosis and treatment of depression is very important in preventing suicides. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 45% of those who commit suicide are suffering from some sort of mental illness. And this includes people with undiagnosed, untreated, or under-treated depression.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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