Skip to main content

Major Depression (Clinical Depression): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Major Depression

Major depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD), is the most severe form of depression. Victims of major depression experience a constant state of hopelessness and despair. The symptoms are much more severe than those experienced by people who suffer from chronic depression. They often have significant difficulty sleeping, eating, working, and even enjoying the company of family and friends.

Major depression is also known as unipolar disorder or recurrent depressive disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that up to 6.7 percent of the population is affected by major depression at least once in their life, sometimes multiple times.

Anyone can be at risk of developing major depression. Indiscriminately it affects young and old, men and women. Women are more than twice the risk of developing major depression than men do, based on figures relating to those seeking treatment. It is believed that this is due to fluctuating hormone levels that women often experience typically begins with the onset of puberty. For all demographic groups, various types of environmental stress and life can be major contributors to depression.

Depression in men is greatly under-reported. Men have a tendency to play down the intensity of emotions they feel. They are often reluctant to seek medical help because they fear they will be judged as weak. Due to the fact that women are much more likely to seek help, it is possible that the frequency of depression among men and women may not be as big as people think. (Read more: Depression In Men and Depression In Women)

Symptoms of Major Depression

Major depression is characterized by symptoms such as depressed moods, decreased interest in activities that the individual once found enjoyable, difficulty in sleeping, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, feelings of excessive guilt and more for at least two weeks.

These symptoms often disrupt normal life and clinical depression can occur any number of times during an individual’s lifetime. People suffering from this disorder also suffer from low self esteem.

This condition not only affects the individual’s life, but also the life of people around him or her and his or her work and relationships too.

Not all signs of major depression will necessarily be present in each individual, but may include irritability, anger, drug or alcohol abuse as an attempt to self-medicate, and violent behavior. They also often results in suicidal and homicidal tendencies and increased disease.

As stated, major depressive disorder is the most severe form of depression and therefore, it makes sense that major depression symptoms would be harsh. This particular illness usually develops between the ages of 20 and 30 and although an individual would recognize that something had changed, this is also the time in a person’s life that dealing with a serious illness such as this is most difficult.

One of the biggest challenges of Major Depressive Disorder has to do with mood. Once this illness begins, an individual would begin to experience significant lows that soon impact every aspect of life. No matter how hard the individual tries to pull out of the black hole they were dropped in or what family members and friends do to help, symptoms tend to broaden and worsen.

Another one of the main symptoms is the inability to enjoy things that an individual once found pleasurable. This could be an activity, hobby, job, school, or even person but regardless, the individual with this type of mental health disorder could no longer experience joy. Making this even worse, friends and family will try to encourage the person to get involved or get out but this increases the level of frustration already being felt.

Additional symptoms include poor concentration and focus, disrupted sleep, poor appetite, issues with memory, increased or decreased weight, isolation, reduced libido, chronic fatigue, low stamina, problems with digestion, headaches, and the list goes on.

However, the worst part is when thoughts of suicide, harm, or homicide creep into the person’s mind. At that point, immediate intervention becomes critical.

Remember, while there is a typical pattern associated with major depressive disorder, every person is different; so one individual might experience every symptom at an intense level while another person may only have five and at a more moderate level.

  See also: Symptoms of Clinical Depression

What Causes Major Depression

The exact cause of major depression is not known. There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing this type of depression.  A combination of genes and stress can affect brain chemistry, resulting in this kind of mood disorder.

The loss of a loved one through death or divorce is one of the main causes. It can also be caused by feelings of social isolation or depravity, major life changes, relationship conflicts and sexual, emotional or physical abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, certain medical conditions and medications, etc.

Major Depression Diagnosis

Major depression is usually diagnosed by a doctor after examining the individual’s symptoms, and personal and family history of emotional disorders. There is no proving method that you can run to determine if a person is suffering from depression, or if the symptoms are caused by another disease, such as hypothyroidism. Doctors frequently order a blood test to rule out other causes. They will also make an assessment of the medications you are using, and possibly adjust the dosage or prescribe alternative medicines because it has been shown that certain types of drugs cause feelings of depression in people.

For an individual to be given a firm diagnosis, a medical doctor or mental health professional would have to rely on information provided by the patient such as emotions, feelings, and even experiences. Most professionals also turn to close family members and friends to gain their perspective of how the illness has affected the individual.

Major Depression Treatment

Even though major depression symptoms are debilitating, viable treatment options are available. For the most part, an individual with major depressive disorder would be treated with antidepressants although there are times when psychotherapy and/or counseling would be recommended as well.

However, because people with this type of depression often struggle with negative thoughts that include suicide, personal harm, bodily harm to others, and even homicide, hospitalization and more drastic treatments are also used.

While most people go through the same symptoms, everyone responds in a unique way. For this reason, a medical expert might need to try several different treatments before honing in on the one that provides the best relief. This can be a frustrating process but with good support and encouragement, an individual with MDD would know there are better days to come.



Comments

Other Posts

Some Commonly Experienced Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders In this page we will discuss some of the anxiety disorder symptoms which are commonly experienced in generalized anxiety , post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks . It is important to note, however, that anxiety is capable of creating hundreds of different anxiety disorder symptoms, so this is by no means an exclusive list. Shallow Breath and Smothering Sensations : This is one of the most common anxiety disorder symptoms - it may feel as though you aren’t getting enough air into your lungs or as though someone is pressing up against your chest cavity and restricting your air intake. This is just a harmless sensation! Don’t worry about it or be concerned that you aren’t breathing properly because you are! If you weren’t breathing properly you would be unconscious. As with all anxiety disorder symptoms, don’t give these sensations any credit, they will go away. Depression : It is very comm

How to Build Self-Confidence & Improve Self-Esteem : 5 Ways

How to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem Self-Confidence Meaning Self Confidence is a belief on ones abilities. In the purest form it expresses how much belief you have in your own abilities, in any field. You can have great self confidence in your soccer abilities but when it comes to relationships, you are lost. So it varies on the field which we are examining.   We all have our strong and weak sides, and that’s okay. The problem begins when we disregard and undervalue ourselves, and lose faith in ourselves. This is what you should focus on, when building self confidence. You should focus on your strong sides and remind yourself of the things you are proud of, of the things that you are very good at. When you focus on the things you are proud of, you start feeling great about yourself and you begin to acknowledge your advantages as well. This leads to strong sense of self-appreciation and confidence. How to Build Self-Confidence Everyone is different, and what works for one perso

Panic Attack and Panic Disorder

Panic Attack and Panic Disorder Panic Attack A panic attack is a sudden or intense anxiety or fear. Panic attacks usually come with the following symptoms: dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, light headedness. Panic attacks are unpredictable and happen in a range of situations.     See also: Anxiety Attack Some people have only one or two in their lifetime, others will have a group of them which center around increasing stress in their life and for others it could be a daily event in which case it is caused a panic disorder. People who suffer on going panic attacks will generally develop a fear of having panic attacks and go on to avoid situations in which escape would be difficult. Some people who have social anxiety disorder often have panic attacks as part of their symptoms. These attacks are also called anxiety attacks and are usually resolved by removing the problem or trigger situation. What does panic attack feel like If you do have panic attacks y