Major Depressive Disorder
Defining Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major Depressive Disorder is a mental illness characterized by persistent depression and usually followed by low self-esteem, and loss of interest and pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. MDD is also known as clinical depression, unipolar depression, recurrent depression or major depression.
Neurobiological chemical imbalances in the cerebrum of the human brain can lead to depression. External events can trigger imbalances in the brain that can lead to depression. While most of these imbalances are reversible, in some cases, depression can last for a very long time- even for an entire lifetime.
Signs and Symptoms
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions and remembering things
- Feeling fatigued through the day
- Feeling worthless and sad
- Having a highly pessimistic outlook towards general things in life
- Sleep related disorders like insomnia or parasomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Irregular eating cycles
- Digestive problem without an underlying medical explanation
- Persistent feelings of being sad and unhappy
- Suicidal ideation
Causes and Risk Factors
Major Depression can be caused due to a number of factors. A person’s mood and level of happiness is prevalent in either of the three neurotransmitters- serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. An imbalance in any of these three monoamines can lead to sadness and a feeling of emptiness, which, over a prolonged period of time, can result in chronic depression. Genetic mutations can also affect the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to clinical depression.
Individuals who have experienced a rough childhood and constant failures can lead to chronic depression. Some children grow up in a highly demanding social environment (especially in Eastern societies) and are unable to cope with the pressure to perform set by others or themselves. Such a pressing environment can cause a lot of chemical changes in the brain (specifically the cerebrum) and lead to depressive behavior.
People suffering from clinical depression are exposed to many risks, including:
- Inability to make new friends
- Being socially aloof
- Suicidal ideation
- Criminal behavior
Individuals suffering from major depressive disorder would benefit from checking into a rehabilitation center. Therapists and physicians work to help individuals ease symptoms and find methods in helping to elevate and regulate mood. It is important to consult a physician to see which facilities and programs fit specific needs for treating Recurrent Depre.
Unipolar Depression can be treated at the psychological as well as pathological level. Psychotherapy is one of the most potent ways of treating this disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the most commonly employed forms of psychotherapy for treating this disorder. Psychotherapy is more effective in treating older people. Younger people usually suffer from a more complex form of Major Depression and are usually treated by employing a judicial mix of psychotherapy and medication.
People suffering from depression are usually treated with SSRIs (Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Most patients try starting out on medication with anti-depressants, however, anti-depressants are found to be ineffective against patients of Recurrent Depression. Irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors are also effective in “uplifting” the mood of patients by restoring monoamine balance in the brain.