Depression or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

by Dua Writer

Depression, also called major depressive disorder (or MDD), is a mental illness that affects how an individual thinks and feels. This can be caused by several factors, including life circumstances, such as financial problems, a divorce, or losing a job. Other causes could include substance abuse, physical ailments like thyroid problems, or chronic pain. There is no cure for depression, but it can be treated with medications and therapy. If you think you have depression, talk to your doctor who will refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor who can help. In this article, we look at what depression is, its signs and symptoms, and treatment options.

Share on Pinterest Elizabeth Martin/Stocksy United What is depression?

It’s not just sadness or low mood. When the mind is in a state of depression, people tend to not have normal social interactions, and work performance drops — they are less productive and experience difficulty completing everyday tasks, including family and relationships. The most common symptom of depression is feeling sad or empty, even though a person might feel happy. Others feel irritable, lack energy, and sometimes sleep or eat too much. Most often, the main cause of depression is the loss of purpose, meaning there was a reason why something happened to someone; such as a change in relationship, job loss, or change in circumstance.

For example: When someone loses their job, they may feel depressed because they can no longer earn enough money to survive and avoid bankruptcy. They may find themselves in a challenging situation where no amount of money can support them, for example being denied medical care or dealing with financial difficulties. People with depression can have many other mental health issues such as anxiety or eating disorders that can make depression worse. Here are some examples of symptoms of depression: feeling sad or empty

feeling irritable or aggressive

lack of energy

sleeping too little or too much

feeling that everything you do is meaningless

being unable to focus, concentrate, work or do anything important with your hands or other body parts

unable to deal with stress effectively

experiencing thoughts of suicide, death

hurting yourself having suicidal thoughts A doctor may diagnose depression if the patient experiences all these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, and symptoms worsen with time. Some doctors also use a combination of DSM-V criteria to diagnose depression. How can I tell if someone has depression? Sometimes, people with depression feel sad or anxious and may have mood swings and unusual behavior. These behaviors may appear to suggest a need for medication. The last thing the person should do is become desperate and go out on dates without making sure they don’t end up having serious consequences. However, when talking to others about their feelings, it’s possible that someone may feel better after they share their struggles.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Feeling irritable or angry, without any apparent reason
  • Sleeping, usually only a short period, fewer than usual
  • Having poor concentration and memory
  • Wanting to end the situation, whether the person wants to die or doesn’t care what happens
  • Feeling restless or unable to sleep due to tossing and turning
  • Having problems concentrating
  • Having trouble thinking clearly or remembering things
  • Feeling depressed, anxious
  • Guilty of having suicidal thoughts Someone getting more and more depressed over a long period of time, experiencing multiple episodes, or having suicidal thoughts could be a sign of depression.
  • Treatment for depression involves psychotherapy, antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs). Psychotherapy Treatment for depression combines cognitive restructuring, mindfulness therapy, and behavioral techniques such as group therapy. The goal is to remove negative beliefs about oneself and replace them with new beliefs about life and possibilities.

Cognitive restructuring Therapy:

Individuals suffering from depression usually struggle with persistent negative thoughts or beliefs, often about one particular event or life situation. Cognitive restructuring techniques help to change those negative thoughts into positive ones. Examples of cognitive restructuring techniques include self-talk therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

People who don’t respond well to standard antidepressant drugs may benefit from using either of the two classifications of anti-depressants. SSRIs block serotonin receptors, which are key to regulating mood and increasing the production of dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain. TCAs don’t affect neurotransmitters; however, they target the reuptake of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that helps regulate blood pressure. Both medications help reduce depression symptoms, so people may be able to go back to working in normal ways again.

Medication Medications used to treat depression can be divided into three categories:

1- Benzodiazepines

2- Anti-anxiety medications

3- Anti-stress meds

1- Benzodiazepines:

These include sedatives and hypnotics such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Benzodiazepines can be very effective at reducing anxiety and panic attacks, especially in high doses, although they can lead to drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and dependence. Adverse effects from benzodiazepine prescription medicine include impaired judgment and motor coordination when taking large amounts and changes in heart rate and muscle control with chronic use.

2- Anti-anxiety medications:

Antidepressant medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help lessen anxiety and panic attacks. Their side effects can range from mild irritation of the gastrointestinal tract to liver damage. Tricyclic antidepressants, which are used to treat children, are particularly effective at treating moderate to severe depression since these types of drugs reduce the breakdown of serotonin in the body. Unlike antianxiety medicines, tricyclics don’t affect serotonin levels. However, these drugs cause weight gain, irregular heartbeat, diarrhea, headaches, and blurred vision. Antidepressant medicines used to treat bipolar disorder include Seroquel, lithium, lamotrigine, propranolol, and carbamazepine.

3- Anti-stress meds:

Anxiety medics include acupressure (a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin), cortisone, and buspirone. Although these medics don’t directly treat depression, they can reduce anxiety symptoms through serotonin release. According to research from 2018, SSRI drugs and stimulant antidepressants were the most effective treatments for clinical depression. TNF blockers TNF blockers work to inhibit the growth and inflammation of cells in the body, helping regulate the immune system.

Examples include adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), certanesetron (Celetriptan), infliximab (Remicade), abatacept (Xeljanz) and imatinib (Gleevec). Naltrexone/naltrexone is similar to sertraline, with different mechanisms of action. Naltrexone acts mainly in the limbic region of the brain, helping to decrease cortisol levels and promote the relaxation of nerves. It can also be prescribed to prevent opioid withdrawal. But a study found that naltrexone had no effect on the incidence of depression in patients with cancer. Sertraline, which blocks certain chemicals involved in causing depression, is available over the counter via tetracycline, nicotinamide, and prazosin (which works primarily by relaxing muscles on the body). Side effects can range from flushing, digestive upset, insomnia, decreased appetite and increased sweating, to stomach ulcers. Studies show that higher doses of sertraline can cause liver failure in some people. While sertraline can help alleviate depression, it isn’t recommended for everyone to start treatment.


Diagnosis As a form of testing, psychologists may use standardized questionnaires to assess whether depression is present. One of the most commonly used screening tools involves asking open questions about how often you are bothered by depression. Results of this screening, combined with a complete mental status examination, have helped to identify around 50 Percents of people with depression. Psychological tests If you think you may have depression, ask your doctor for advice on a psychological test. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests depending on your needs: personality assessment: This includes assessing your self-confidence, sense of humor, assertiveness and ability to get along with other people. Many people are reluctant to reveal information about themselves, believing that the results will undermine their confidence. Personality assessments should help determine whether you possess traits associated with depression.


This includes assessing your self-confidence, sense of humor, assertiveness and ability to get along with other people. Many people are reluctant to reveal information about themselves, believing that the results will undermine their confidence. personality assessment: This test reveals how well a person manages stress, relates to their peers and interacts with friends and loved ones.

This test reveals how well a person manages stress, relates to their peers and interacts with friends and loved ones. interpersonal functioning: This involves assessing how well you interact with individuals, groups or groups of people. Interpersonal functioning is important because it predicts your capacity for making friends and bonding over shared interests. Different types of interpersonal functioning could indicate depression, including social, intrapersonal and emotionality. Social functioning: Is your social life a source of happiness or pain? Are you more likely to make close friends or avoid them? Can you have good conversations or lose track of time? How strong are your emotions? People may score high or low on these aspects if they have depression.

Intrapersonal functioning:

Does your coping and problem-solving skills improve or decline when you’re depressed? Do you sometimes go days or weeks without doing anything meaningful? Or do you have a tendency to spend less time doing meaningful activities?

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