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Major Depressive Disorder Medication, Treatment and Symptoms

Clinical depression, often known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a prevalent mood condition that can affect anyone. Its most common symptom is a protracted state of sorrow or irritation. Keep reading to learn more about this condition.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 27, 2023

What Is Major Depressive Disorder? Major Depressive Disorder Definition

What Is Major Depression Disorder? Major Depressive Disorder Medication

Clinical depression, often known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a prevalent mood condition that can affect anyone. Its most common symptom is a protracted state of sorrow or irritation.

Sadness is a normal emotion that all people experience. When a loved one dies or when they are dealing with a difficult life event like a divorce or a serious illness, people may feel sad or melancholy.

These emotions typically pass quickly. Someone may have a mood disorder like major depressive disorder if they consistently and intensely feel depressed for long periods of time (MDD).

What Is Major Depression?

Clinical depression, another name for MDD, is a serious illness that can have an impact on many aspects of your life. It affects a variety of physiological processes, including food and sleep, as well as mood and behavior.

One of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the US is MDD. According to data, more than 8.4% of adults in the United States had a severe depressive episode in 2020.

Some MDD patients never receive treatment. With treatment, the majority of individuals with the illness can learn how to manage and function. People with MDD can manage their symptoms and receive effective treatment through medications, psychotherapy, and other techniques.

Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms

Criteria For Major Depressive Disorder: Based on your symptoms, emotions, and behaviors, a medical or mental health specialist can determine whether you have MDD.

DSM Major Depressive Disorder: In order for medical specialists to better identify whether you have MDD or another ailment, you will typically be asked particular questions or given a questionnaire.

Major Depressive Disorder Severe Recurrent DSM 5 Code: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) symptom criteria must be met in order to receive an MDD diagnosis. Major Depression Disorder Criteria: This guidebook aids in the mental health disorder diagnosis for medical professionals. As per its criteria:

Major Depressive Disorder Recurrent Mild SymptomsMajor Depressive Disorder Recurrent Moderate (Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder)

  • You must experience a change in your previous functioning.
  • Symptoms must occur for a period of 2 or more weeks.
  • At least one symptom is either a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.

You must also experience five or more of the following symptoms of major depressive disorder in the 2-week period:

  • You feel sad or irritable most of the day, nearly every day.
  • You’re less interested in most activities you once enjoyed.
  • You suddenly lose or gain weight or have a change in appetite.
  • You have trouble falling asleep or want to sleep more than usual.
  • You experience feelings of restlessness.
  • You feel unusually tired and have a lack of energy.
  • You feel worthless or guilty, often about things that wouldn’t usually make you feel that way.
  • You have difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
  • You think about harming yourself or suicide.

Major Depression Symptoms in Different Age GroupsSigns Of Major Depression

Major Depressive Symptoms: Symptoms Of Major Depression in Young Adults

Major depression signs in young adults:

  • Onset or increased use of substances (i.e., alcohol, smoking)
  • Poorer academic performance
  • Problems with peers
  • Increased social withdrawal/isolation

Symptom Of Major Depressive Disorder: Symptoms Major Depression in Older Adults

The signs of depression in older persons are comparable to those in other age groups. When other medical issues cannot explain an older person’s physical pain, it is frequently the cause. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are frequently accompanied by depression. Sometimes people refer to it as geriatric depression.

Compared to the general population, older persons with one chronic health condition are 80% more likely to experience depression. This risk increases if their function is restricted.

What is a Major Depressive Episode? Major Depressive Disorder Single Episode

A major depressive episode (MDE) is a time frame in which a person has major depressive disorder symptoms. The main symptoms of being impacted are a gloomy mood that lasts for at least two weeks or more, as well as a loss of interest or enjoyment in routine tasks. Other signs and symptoms include thoughts of suicide, empty feelings, worry, fear, worthlessness, guilt, anger, changes in appetite, trouble focusing, remembering specifics, or making decisions. Aches, pains, or unresolvable intestinal issues could also be present, as well as insomnia or hypersomnia. The description has been codified in the DSM-5 and ICD-10, two mental diagnostic manuals.

How Common Is Major Depressive Disorder?

  • An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.
  • The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) compared to males (6.2%).
  • The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

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Depression Fact Sheet

Depression Overview

Depression is a group of illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder that are connected to mood elevation or depression

Types of Depression

Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Persistent depressive disorder: A mild but long-term form of depression.

Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Bipolar II disorder:  A type of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Postpartum depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth.

Depression Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Depression Statistics

One of the most prevalent mental diseases in the US is major depression. Some people who have serious depression may experience substantial impairments that impede or restrict their capacity to engage in important life activities.

21 million

An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) compared to males (6.2%).

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Major Depressive Disorder With Psychotic Features or Major Depression With Psychotic Features

Major Depressive Disorder Recurrent Severe Without Psychotic Features: When someone has both depression and psychosis, they are said to have depression with psychotic characteristics. Disconnection from reality is referred to as psychosis, which can manifest as hallucinations or delusions as symptoms.

Psychotic depression is another name for major depression with psychotic symptoms. It is a serious condition marked by a concomitant occurrence of psychosis and unipolar severe depressive symptoms.

According to some estimates, between 14.7 and 18.5 percent of people who have serious depression may also exhibit psychotic traits, and the prevalence rates may increase with advancing age.

This particular type of depression is underdiagnosed and underrated. Since this article focuses on unipolar depression, major depression is used to describe a major depressive episode rather than bipolar illness.

This article will outline available treatments and strategies for recovery as well as explore how doctors diagnose depression with psychosis.

Major Depressive Disorder With Anxious Distress

Depression and anxiety disorders frequently co-occur, as is well known. They actually co-occur at least 60% of the time, according to the majority of academics. Since both disorders are strongly correlated with low serotonin, most antidepressants are frequently also useful for anxiety. Given these details, it should come as no surprise that some patients develop a specific type of anxiety that is consistent with their Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) episode.

There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia.
There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia.

Compare And Contrast Major Depression With Dysthymia Depression. Major Depressive Disorder.

There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia. Both illnesses have an impact on a person’s daily life.

In the US, Persistent Depressive Disorder, formerly known as dysthymic disorder, affects 1.5% of adults. PDD is more common in females than in males.

7.1% of individuals in the U.S. suffer from MDD, making it one of the most prevalent mental health conditions there. Additionally, girls are more prone than males to develop it.

Persistent Depressive Disorder Vs Major Depressive Disorder

The difference between major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder relays on the length of the symptoms. The symptoms of Persistent Depression Disorder in an adult must have persisted for at least two years for a diagnosis to be made. Adults with MDD, on the other hand, go through significant depressive episodes that are separated by at least two months.

The distinctions between significant and chronic depressive illnesses are discussed below. We go over their signs and symptoms, root causes, remedies, and more.

Major Depressive Disorder Vs Persistent Depressive Disorder: Dysthymia Vs Major Depression

You may have a persistent depressive disorder (Chronic Dysthymia) if you experience depression on a regular basis, find it difficult to get through the day, feel hopeless, and experience no respite for weeks on end. Although less severe than major depression, this is a legitimate mental illness that can nonetheless have detrimental effects. Get assistance and a diagnosis by reaching out. Residential care is beneficial.

Depression is a clinical word that covers a number of subcategories, a description of a mood, and a mental condition. Depression of any kind affects mood and daily functioning. Indicators of depression include symptom kind and duration, age and gender, medical condition, and more. Some examples include:

  • Serious, enduring sadness and other symptoms of major depression make it exceedingly challenging to function or enjoy life.
  • A milder, longer-lasting, more chronic form of depression is known as persistent depressive disorder.
  • Periods of mania, a heightened and dangerously high-energy mood, alternate with bipolar sadness.
  • The symptoms of perinatal and postpartum depression, which can range from mild to severe and even life-threatening, appear during and after pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that manifests in the days or even weeks prior to menstruation.
  • Depression brought on by seasonal affective disorder typically occurs in the winter but can also happen in the spring and summer.
  • A severe case of depression known as psychotic depression results in hallucinations and delusions.

Major Depressive Disorder Vs Depression

There are numerous differences between major depressive disorder and minor depressive disorder, commonly referred to as “everyday depression.” But more obviously, people with major depressive disorder have more symptoms and show them with greater acuity than people with minor depressive disorder. The contrasts between these two illnesses, their symptoms, and their treatments will all be further discussed in this article.

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Causes Of Major Depressive Disorder

It is unknown what causes MDD specifically. However, a number of things can make you more likely to get the illness. Stress and genetic predispositions to depression can alter brain chemistry and impair your capacity to control your mood.

The development of MDD might also be influenced by changes in the hormone balance. MDD can also be brought on by:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Certain medical conditions, such as cancer or hypothyroidism
  • Particular types of medications, including steroids
  • Abuse during childhood

Is Major Depressive Disorder A Disability?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, depression qualifies as a mental disability (ADA). It’s a serious mood illness that has been shown to interfere with daily tasks, including your capacity to work.

Major Depressive Disorder DiagnosisMajor Depressive Disorder Criteria

Your doctor may determine a diagnosis of depression based on:

  • Exam of the body. Your physician might do a physical examination and inquire about your health. Sometimes a physical health issue may be the underlying cause of depression.
  • Lab testing. For instance, your doctor might check your thyroid to see if it is functioning properly or perform a blood test called a complete blood count.
  • Psychiatric assessment. Your mental health expert will inquire about your signs, ideas, emotions, and patterns of behavior. To assist in addressing these inquiries, you might be requested to complete a questionnaire.
  • DSM-5. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) issued by the American Psychiatric Association may be used by your mental health provider to determine whether you meet the criteria for depression.

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Major Depressive Disorder Treatments (Treatment For Major Depressive Disorder)

Major Depressive Disorder Medical Procedure: Treating Major Depressive Disorder

Psychotherapy and medication are frequently used to treat MDD. A few alterations to one’s way of life can also help reduce some symptoms.

People who have severe MDD or suicidal thoughts may need to stay in a hospital while receiving treatment. Some people might also need to participate in an outpatient program for treatment until their symptoms become better.

Treatments For Major Depressive Disorder: Psychotherapy and medication are frequently used to treat MDD.
Treatments For Major Depressive Disorder: Psychotherapy and medication are frequently used to treat MDD.

Major Depressive Disorder MedicationsMajor Depression Disorder Treatments

Antidepressant drugs are frequently prescribed as the first step in treating MDD by primary care providers.

Medication For Major Depressive Disorder: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Major Depression Treatment: One class of antidepressants that are widely administered is SSRI. SSRIs function by preventing the breakdown of serotonin in the brain, which raises levels of this neurotransmitter. A brain molecule called serotonin is thought to be in charge of mood. It might contribute to mood improvement and promote sound sleep habits.

Serotonin levels are frequently assumed to be low in people with MDD. By boosting the amount of serotonin accessible in your brain, an SSRI may help with MDD symptoms. Well-known medications like fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram are examples of SSRIs (Celexa). The majority of people tolerate their side effects, which are relatively rare.

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), another class of antidepressants that is frequently given, are similar to SSRIs. Serotonin and norepinephrine, which assist in controlling your fight-or-flight response, are impacted by these.

Other Medications For Major Depressive Disorder

When previous medications haven’t worked, tricyclic antidepressants and so-called atypical antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin), may be utilized. Weight gain and drowsiness are only two of the negative effects that these medications may have. Benefits and adverse effects must be carefully weighed by a healthcare practitioner, as with any medicine.

Immediately stopping a medicine can result in withdrawal symptoms. It’s crucial to follow the advice of a mental health or healthcare expert before stopping your medication. There are some MDD drugs that should not be taken while you are pregnant or nursing. If you become pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing, make sure you speak with a healthcare practitioner.

Major Depressive Disorder TherapiesTherapy For Major Depressive Disorder

People with MDD can be successfully treated with psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as psychological therapy or talk therapy. It entails scheduling regular consultations with a mental health specialist to discuss your disease and associated problems. You can benefit from major depression disorder treatment therapy by:

  • Adjust to a crisis or other stressful event
  • Working toward achieving a balanced perspective of a given situation and acting in accordance with values instead of based on mood
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Find better ways to cope with challenges and solve problems
  • Increase your self-esteem
  • Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life

Other forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, may also be suggested by major depressive disorder specialists. The Healthline FindCare feature can help you locate a mental health professional in your region if you don’t already have one.

Group therapy is an additional option for treatment because it enables you to express your emotions with others who understand what you’re going through.

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We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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