What is major depression?
Major depression, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day’s ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.
Who is affected by major depression?
The onset of depression is occurring earlier in life than in previous years, with women nearly twice as likely as men to develop major depression.
What are the symptoms of major depression?
The following are the most common symptoms of major depression. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed
- excessive crying
- increased restlessness and irritability
- decreased ability to concentrate and make decisions
- decreased energy
- thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- increased feelings of guilt, helplessness, and/or hopelessness
- weight and/or appetite changes due to over- or under-eating
- changes in sleep patterns
- social withdrawal
- physical symptoms unrealized by standard treatment (i.e., chronic pain, headaches)
For a diagnosis of major depression to be made, an individual must exhibit five or more of these symptoms during the same two-week period. The symptoms of major depression may resemble other psychiatric conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Treatment for major depression:
Specific treatment for major depression will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference