Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common disorder that anyone can get. The most prevalent symptom of this mood disorder is irritability or sadness. It’s naturally human to experience sadness, but MDD is different.
People may feel sad when experiencing a significant life change like divorce, serious illness, or losing a loved one. However, these periods and feelings of sadness are often short-lived. When someone is experiencing intense and persistent feelings of sadness for an extended period, they may have a mood disorder.
Depression is a severe mood disorder that touches every part of your life. Here’s everything you need to know about major depressive disorder.
What Is Major Depressive Disorder?
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of loss of interest and overwhelming sadness. It is commonly referred to as clinical depression. The condition affects how you think, feel, and behave. The disorder often results in multiple physical and emotional problems. You may struggle to carry out your day-to-day activities or feel like life is worthless.
What Are The Symptoms Of Clinical Depression?
Overall, depression is more than just experiencing the blues. It isn’t the kind of sadness you cannot quickly shake off and snap out of without treatment. Before we look at the symptoms, note that to identify MDD:
- You should have experienced a notable change from how you previously functioned
- Symptoms have occurred for a period not less than two weeks
- At least one of your symptoms is loss of pleasure or interest or a severely sad mood.
The symptoms of major depressive disorder include:
- Feeling irritable or sad for most of your day, almost every day
- You’re losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Suddenly losing or gaining weight
- You’re experiencing a sudden loss of appetite
- You’re experiencing restlessness
- You’re sleeping more than usual
- You’re experiencing trouble falling asleep
- You’re exhausted and lack energy
- You’re feeling guilty or worthless, often because of things that would not make you feel the same way before
- You’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or harming yourself
- You’re having difficulty making decisions, thinking, or concentrating
How Is Major Depressive Disorder Treated?
MDD is often treated with therapy or medication. Adjustments to your lifestyle may also help ease some of the symptoms. Here are the most common options.
Medical professionals often initiate treatment for major depressive disorder by prescribing medication—antidepressant medication helps prevent serotonin breakdown. Serotonin is a brain chemical that is responsible for your mood.
Higher amounts of serotonin result in mood improvement and healthier sleeping patterns.
Therapy has helped many people with MDD. The treatment involves meeting with a professional therapist to discuss the condition and other related issues. Many have found this treatment great for helping them adjust to stressful events or crises that may have triggered their mood disorder.
While no specific food can cure MDD, certain food choices benefit your mental well-being. Foods rich in vitamin B, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids have been known to elevate moods.
Although MDD makes you tired and unmotivated, staying physically active is crucial. Exercising, especially in moderate sunlight outdoors, can give you a mood boost and help you feel better.
Talk To Someone
While MDD makes you feel hopeless, it is vital that you know that the disorder is treatable. There is hope for you. Stick to a treatment plan, and keep up with your therapy sessions and follow-ups. If medication is subscribed, try not to skip any unless your healthcare provider advises you to.
Remember that the disorder is not your fault. You are experiencing a chemical imbalance in your brain. On days you feel particularly sad despite treatment, experience suicidal thoughts, or want to harm yourself, it is vital to call any local mental health service or 911.