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Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder, is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

It is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health.

Causes Of Major Depressive Disorder:

The exact cause of Major Depressive Disorder is not known.

However, scientists believe it results due to a number of factors including:

  • Biological differences
  • Brain chemistry
  • Hormones
  • Inherited traits

The following factors increase the risk of developing Major Depressive Disorder:

  • Certain personality traits, such as:
  • low self-esteem
  • dependent
  • self-critical
  • pessimistic
  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as:
  • physical or sexual abuse,
  • the death or loss of a loved one
  • a difficult relationship
  • or financial problems
  • Childhood trauma
  • Blood relatives with a history of :
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • alcoholism
  • suicide
  • History of other mental health disorders, such as:
  • anxiety disorder
  • eating disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Serious or chronic illness, including:
  • cancer
  • stroke
  • chronic pain
  • heart disease

Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder:

Some common symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder include the following:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Diagnosis Of Major Depressive Disorder:

The following tests and exams help in the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder:

  • Physical exam
  • Lab tests including:
  • Complete bold count
  • Thyroid test
  • Psychological evaluation.
  • DSM-5

Treatment Of Major Depressive Disorder:

Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder includes the following:

  • Medications
  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  3. Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs).
  4. Atypical antidepressants.
  5. Tricyclic antidepressants.
  6. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Psychotherapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

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