Monday, September 18, 2023

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder

What Is Major Depression

8 Signs of Major Depressive Disorder

A type of mood disorder, major depression, goes far beyond the typical feelings of sadness that a child might experience. Instead, major depression is a persistently sad or irritable mood that affects a childs thinking and behavior at home, in school, and with peers.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 10 percent of adolescents ages 12-17 experience major depression in a given year. It is on the rise in both children and adolescents. With early onset, childhood and adolescence depression can predict future episodes of depression into adulthood. Early and consistent treatment can help to lessen the risk of recurrence and reduce the severity of symptoms while improving functioning and well-being.

What You Can Do: Daily Habits Make A Difference

These healthy lifestyle habits, along with professional treatment, can help you manage the symptoms of major depression:

Treatment Works. SAMHSA Can Help You Find It.

Effective treatments for major depressive disorder are available in your area. The earlier that you begin treatment, the greater likelihood of a better outcome. For confidential and anonymous help finding a specialty program near you, visit SAMHSAs Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator.

If you, or someone you know, need help to stop using substances whether the problem is methamphetamine, alcohol or another drug call SAMHSAs National Helpline at or TTY: , or text your zip code to 435748 , or use the SAMHSAs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to get help.

What Triggers Major Depression

Some common triggers or causes of major depression include:

  • Loss of a loved one through death, divorce, or separation
  • Social isolation or feelings of being deprived
  • Major life changes — moving, graduation, job change, retirement
  • Personal conflicts in relationships, either with a significant other or a superior
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

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How Does A Doctor Make A Depression Diagnosis

Weve gotten used to doctors using special blood tests or other complex laboratory tests to help them make a conclusive diagnosis. But most lab tests arenât very helpful when it comes to diagnosing depression. In fact, talking with the patient may be the most important diagnostic tool the doctor has. The recommendation is that doctors routinely screen everyone for depression. This screening might take place during a visit for a chronic illness, at an annual wellness visit, or during a pregnancy or postpartum visit.

To effectively diagnose and treat depression, the doctor must hear about specific symptoms of depression. They may use a series of standard questions to screen for depression. While a physical examination will reveal a patients overall state of health, by talking with a patient, a doctor can learn about other things that are relevant to making a depression diagnosis. A patient, for example, can report on such things as daily moods, behaviors, and lifestyle habits.

A depression diagnosis is often difficult to make because clinical depression can show up in so many different ways. For example, some clinically depressed people seem to withdraw into a state of apathy. Others may become irritable or even agitated. Eating and sleeping patterns can be exaggerated. Clinical depression may cause someone to sleep or eat to excess, or almost eliminate those activities.

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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Major Depressive Disorder

Signs and symptoms of depression

While someone with MDD can feel hopeless at times, its important to remember that the disorder can be treated successfully. There is hope.

To improve your outlook, its critical to stick with your treatment plan. Dont miss therapy sessions or follow-up appointments with your healthcare professional.

Never stop taking your medications unless your therapist or healthcare professional advises you to.

On days when you feel particularly depressed despite treatment, it can be helpful to call a local crisis or mental health service or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Resources are available.

A friendly, supportive voice could be just what you need to get you through a difficult time.

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Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder

These are some of the symptoms of major depressive disorder:

  • Feeling low or having an empty mood most of the time
  • Feeling irritable, anxious, or restless
  • Feeling worthless or hating oneself
  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or hopeless
  • Feeling tired and not having any energy
  • Having difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Slowing down of physical activity, speech, and thinking or increased agitation and irritability
  • Having difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Experiencing a change in appetite, which can lead to weight gain or weight loss
  • Experiencing unexplained physical aches and pains, such as headaches, stomach cramps, or body pain, that dont go away despite being treated
  • Talking or thinking about death or suicide

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 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.

Depression Care At Uw Medicine

Depression may seem like a hopeless situation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. At UW Medicine, your primary care doctor will team up with mental health specialists and other experts to make sure you get care that helps you feel better.

During your first appointment, your doctor will get a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms, medical history and any family mental health history. Once your doctor understands what is contributing to your condition, they will help you find treatment that works for you. Treatment options include psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and antidepressant medications. Your doctor can point you toward resources such as self-help apps, online therapy programs and other resources. Your doctor can also refer you to a specialist and work with them to coordinate your care.

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Key Points About Depression

  • Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects your whole body including your mood and thoughts.

  • Its caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some types of depression seem to run in families.

  • Depression causes ongoing, extreme feelings of sadness, helplessness, hopeless, and irritability. These feelings are usually a noticeable change from whats normal for you, and they last for more than two weeks.

  • Depression may be diagnosed after a careful psychiatric exam and medical history done by a mental health professional.

  • Depression is most often treated with medicine or therapy, or a combination of both.

Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

Although there are many types of depression, there are certain symptoms that are common across depressive disorders. These symptoms provide the foundation for depression self-evaluations and diagnostic processes used by mental health professionals.

For example, the PHQ-9 often asks questions such as How often have you been bothered by feeling tired or having little energy? and How often have you caught yourself speaking or moving slower than usual? to assess fatigue, which is a hallmark symptom of depression. The more severe the depression, the more frequently these symptoms tend to occur.

You may have depression if you have experienced at least some of the following symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks:

  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

If you experience suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 273-8255 to speak with a trained counselor and find help near you.

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Depression And Older Adults

Feeling down every once in a while is a normal part of life, but if these feelings last a few weeks or months, you may have depression. Read this article to find common signs and symptoms of depression, treatment options, and if you or your loved one may be at risk for depression.

On this page:

How Is Mdd Diagnosed

MDD is a beast of an illness. And, not surprisingly, it can be difficult to ask for help when you are experiencing the symptoms weve discussed. If you or someone you know is showing signs of MDD, know that can and will help.

To get an MDD diagnosis, five of the symptoms above must be present during the same two-week period. There also must be a noticeable change in your ability to function from before these weeks started.

Additionally, at least one of the five symptoms must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest and pleasure, and it must cause significant difficulty in your social activities or vocational ability .

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The Different Types Of Depression

Many people are unaware that there is more than one type of depression. Types of depression can fall into two different categories: dysthymia and major depressive disorder. Because there are so many forms of depression, a depressed individual should speak with a health professional to better understand his symptoms. The health professional can help select an appropriate treatment. Below are a few details on some of the different types of depression.

Ongoing Mood Cognitive Changes May Require Professional Help

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Depression is not only hard to endure, it is also a risk factor for heart disease and dementia. “Depressive symptoms can occur in adults for many reasons. If you are experiencing mood or cognitive changes that last for more than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to bring this up with your doctor or consult a mental health specialist to help sort out possible causes,” says Dr. Nancy Donovan, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.The four most common types of depression are major depression, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

Major depression. The classic depression type, major depression is a state where a dark mood is all-consuming and one loses interest in activities, even ones that are usually pleasurable. Symptoms of this type of depression include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may occur. It is usually treated with psychotherapy and medication. For some people with severe depression that isn’t alleviated with psychotherapy or antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy may be effective.

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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 Signs Of Major Depression In Men

Depression in men is significantly underreported. Men who suffer from clinical depression are less likely to seek help or even talk about their experience.

Signs of depression in men may include irritability, anger, or drug and alcohol abuse . Suppressing negative feelings can result in violent behavior directed both inwardly and outwardly. It can also result in an increase in illness, suicide, and homicide.

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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

An interdisciplinary approach is essential for the effective and successful treatment of MDD. Primary care physicians and psychiatrists, along with nurses, therapists, social workers, and case managers, form an integral part of these collaborated services. In the majority of cases, PCPs are the first providers to whom individuals with MDD present mostly with somatic complaints. Depression screening in primary care settings is very imperative. The regular screening of the patients using depression rating scales such as PHQ-9 can be very helpful in the early diagnosis and intervention, thus improving the overall outcome of MDD. Psychoeducation plays a significant role in improving patient compliance and medication adherence. Recent evidence also supports that lifestyle modification, including moderate exercises, can help to improve mild-to-moderate depression. Suicide screening at each psychiatric visit can be helpful to lower suicide incidence. Since patients with MDD are at increased risk of suicide, close monitoring, and follow up by mental health workers becomes necessary to ensure safety and compliance with mental health treatment. The involvement of families can further add to a better outcome of the overall mental health treatment. Meta-analyses of randomized trials have shown that depression outcomes are superior when using collaborative care as compared with usual care.

Does Double Depression Exist

Signs of Major Depressive Disorder

Yes, absolutely. Just because it isnt called double depressive disorder in committee-approved medical or psychiatric literature doesnt mean that there arent any professionals who dont recognize the phenomenon. Double depression is more common than other combinations of mood disorders and is heavily researched.

There are numerous research articles and studies that center around the phenomenon of acute depressive episodes in clients with previously diagnosed chronic depression, dating back to the early 1980s.

Double depression disorder occurs when someone has a chronically low mood and eventually develops symptoms of full-blown severe depression, which may return episodically, before continuing to experience long-term symptoms of low mood. Dysthymia is a condition with some contention around its treatment and the differences it might have next to conventional depression-like MDD, but as of the latest psychiatric and medical consensus, it is definitely a condition from major depression.

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What Are The Types Of Major Depression

There are several types of depressive disorders:

  • Postpartum Depression affects women after having a baby. It causes intense, long-lasting feelings of anxiety, sadness, and fatigue, making it difficult for mothers to care for themselves and/or their babies, as well as handle daily responsibilities. Postpartum depression can start anywhere from weeks to months after childbirth.
  • Psychotic Depression is a form of depression with psychosis, such as delusions and/or hallucinations .
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder is triggered by changes in seasons. This form of depression usually occurs during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight.
  • Melancholic Depression is a severe form of depression where people have a complete loss of pleasure in almost all activities.
  • Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service

    The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

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    Take A Quick Depression Test: Immediate Results


    PMHNP Director

    10 Minute Read

    Although feeling a little bit down every now and then is a common part of everyday life, feelings of hopelessness and despair that seem inescapable may be a sign that you are struggling with depression.

    Depression is more than just occasional sadness or sadness that happens in response to the obstacles of life depression can actually change the way you think, feel, and function, and it can greatly impact your ability to complete, and enjoy, daily activities.

    Depression can also interrupt your life when it comes to work, school or study, eating and sleeping habits. It may also affect relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, and day-to-day tasks can begin to feel very overwhelming.

    However, depression is a treatable mental health condition and there are ways that you can feel better and get better.

    The first step towards feeling better is learning more about both the causes and symptoms of depression so that you can better understand what is happening, and when its time to seek professional help.

    Residential Treatment For Depression

    What Are Symptoms of Depression in Children and Teens? [infographic]

    Residential, or inpatient, treatment means that you receive depression treatment while residing at the facility. Some inpatient treatment centers are hospitals, while others are meant to feel like home. These can be either residential or partial hospitalization .

    If you live with severe depression and feel like you could hurt yourself , then you may need to be hospitalized temporarily until you are stabilized. This isnt typically a long-term treatment option for depression, but could help keep you safe if youre in a crisis.

    You can also choose to enter into a residential treatment program for depression, whether or not you are hospitalized first.

    Residential treatment centers have clinical staff that provide treatment and make sure residents are safe. Treatment options could include individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapies or equine therapy. Residential treatment can also help make sure youre making healthy life choices, like staying away from drugs and alcohol, and eating a healthy diet.

    Residential treatment is a great option for people who feel they could benefit from more extensive supervision and round-the-clock support. Sometimes, getting out of your usual routine and away from situations that cause triggers is necessary to finally recover from major depressive disorder.

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