Conditions - Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder characterized by a constant feeling of sadness and hopelessness. MDD is also known as clinical depression.

Feeling sad is a natural part of life, but clinical depression differs from a ‘bout of the blues.’ Depressive disorder, or clinical depression, is diagnosed when you experience a persistent feeling of intense despair.

Major depressive disorder affects your mood and behavior pattern but can also affect how you live by altering your sleep and appetite.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), MDD is one of the leading causes of impairment of functioning and health in the world. It ranked number three worldwide as the cause of the burden of disease in 2008.

Symptoms of
Major Depressive Disorder


21 million

(8.4% of all U.S. adults) had at least one major depressive episode in 2020.

Dealing with depression can be an isolating experience. But know that in the United States alone, an estimated 21 million adults (8.4% of all U.S. adults) had at least one major depressive episode in 2020. While some people may experience only one episode of depression in their life, most people live through multiple spells of depression. Symptoms of depression usually last through the day, every day. They can be exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally. Many people describe the experience of depression as ‘struggling through a stagnant pool of tar.’ It leaves you scarred and fatigued. However, depression may feel different for everyone. It is a very personal experience and one that differs from person to person. So how can one accurately diagnose clinical depression? Research has shown that depression can result in some typical symptoms.  The most commonly observed symptom of depression is a pervasive, unexplained feeling of misery without an apparent reason for it. Your healthcare provider may diagnose you with clinical depression if you exhibit several of these symptoms.

Some typical symptoms can include:
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities
  • Tiredness or lack of energy for the simplest of tasks
  • Irritability, anxiety, and angry outbursts
  • Loss of libido
  • Dietary changes – excessive eating or reduced appetite
  • Lack of sleep or too much sleep
  • Lapse in cognitive functioning (concentration, decision-making, memory lapse)
  • Feelings of guilt or fixating on past failures
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Emotional numbness
  • Physical problems, such as headaches and chronic pain or inflammation

Risk for Major Depressive Disorders

MDD is one of the leading causes of disability among adults globally. It can cause severe functional impairments and affect your interpersonal relationships.

Furthermore, depression can aggravate pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery disease. Needless to say, untreated depression can become debilitating and lower the quality of your life.

For Women

Women are usually at higher risk of depressive disorders than men. Almost twice as many women as men have major or clinical depression. This can be because of hormonal changes in women during puberty. Menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause can all increase the risk of depression.

For Men

Although more often diagnosed in women, men are not immune from depressive disorders. Unfortunately, depression in men is significantly under-reported. Men suffering from clinical depression are less likely to seek help or talk about their experiences.

Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder

Treatment interventions for a depressive disorder may largely depend on the severity and pattern of depressive episodes.

Healthcare providers may consider treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and antidepressant medication. Additional psychological treatment options include individual (or group) face-to-face talk therapy.

Antidepressants - Doctors often begin treatment by prescribing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They are considered safe with lower chances of side effects. Many different types of antidepressant medication can be prescribed depending on your specific symptoms and response to past treatments. . Finding the right medication is an individualized process based on your symptoms, response to medication, and sensitivity to side effects. Understanding your unique history is integral to identifying the treatment options that work for you.

Psychotherapy – Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy options can be effective for treating depression. They may focus on recharging your self-confidence, which was stripped away due to your condition, and help you feel in better control of your life.

Alternative therapies – The list of treatment options that have proven to be successful is constantly evolving. Combination treatment, including both medications and psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and many more technologies and therapies, may be viable options for you.

At Options MD, our authoritative and skilled clinical team members research and review the most groundbreaking and experimental therapies for depressive disorders available in the world today. And you have access to all this research and skill when you choose Options MD to be your partner in this journey.

You’re Not Alone, 
and You Have Options!

Although depression can feel overwhelming and seemingly impossible to treat and overcome, please know that you’re not alone and that there is hope.

Millions of people deal with one or more episodes of depression throughout their lifetimes. But with patience and the correct type of support and treatment, it is possible to get through this period in life so you can go on to have a healthy and fruitful life.

Though they can become overwhelming, the symptoms of depression are manageable and treatable. Over 50% of people diagnosed with depressive disorders have a negative experience with the first treatment they try. Individualized care from experienced clinicians is essential for finding effective treatments. 

With Options MD, treatment options are personalized based on your unique experience with depression. You may have tried something before with unsuccessful results. We’re here to listen and find the best option for you.

Do you have questions?

Options MD can help! Our team of psychiatry experts references over 200 different science-backed, leading-edge treatment options to determine the best and most appropriate treatment for you.

We also started the largest community of people with severe and treatment-resistant depression. It is a safe, collaborative, and supportive place to learn about better medication options and leading-edge treatments. Join today to get access to qualified doctors and find friendship and support.

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