What is Major Depressive Disorder?

| Staff Writers

Major depressive disorder, also known as depression, is characterized by a lack of interest in things one used to enjoy or a feeling of sadness that doesn’t seem to go away. The medical community understands major depression very well, and healthcare providers can usually treat the condition with talk therapy and medications. The following is a guide to the symptoms, causes, types, and treatments that you can seek from a healthcare provider if you believe you have depression and need assistance.

Causes of Depression

While depression is widespread, the causes are just as numerous and can begin in any number of places. However, one of the most common ways to determine whether you will suffer from depression is to consider whether your first-degree relatives such as offspring, siblings, or parents are depressed, but there is also a significant anatomical and physiological basis. Other risk factors include co-occurring medical conditions and illnesses. Also, symptoms of major depressive order itself can cause depression such as deregulating your sleep schedule and undereating, overeating, or changing your appetite. Although adjust these habits and patterns won’t treat depression, they are a positive first step in relieving other symptoms as patients seek professional treatment.

Types of Depression

Did you know that there is more than one type of major depressive disorder that can affect one’s daily life. Although each type has different causes, they almost always involve the same overall feeling of sadness and loss of interest in things and people that someone once enjoyed. A few of the more common types of depression include seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postpartum depression following the birth of a child, psychotic depression and hallucinations or delusions, melancholic depression characterized by weight loss, and catatonic depression, a type of major depression disorder that is characterized by behavioral issues and motor problems.

Related: The Top 50 Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology 2017

Signs and Symptoms

Any number of factors might be to blame for your depression, and they typically manifest themselves in your coping behaviors and the way you feel. Depending on the type of depression an individual has, he or she may experience symptoms such as weight loss or gain, exhaustion and lethargy, increased need to sleep, irritability, lashing out at loved ones, withdrawing from regular activities and loved ones, inability to focus, restlessness, agitation, negative thinking and being unable to see the good in situations, and morbid, suicidal thoughts.


Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for major depression disorder, including electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and other somatic therapies. However, most medical professionals avoid ECT except in extreme circumstances, and the majority of providers tend to favor a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy. A medical psychiatrist can both prescribe antidepressants and provide psychotherapy services depending on the needs of his or her patients. Your healthcare provider can help you to determine the treatment with the most chance of success for your lifestyle.

Individuals who experience symptoms of depression or relate to major depression disorder in any way should contact a medical professional. There is a wealth of information available regarding the condition, and in recent years, it has become much less stigmatized. People should feel as though they have options, and talking to a medical professional and counselor about your major depressive disorder is the first step toward living a more fulfilling and happier life.

Latest Posts

COVID-19 and the Crucial Role of Counselors

COVID-19 and the Crucial Role of Counselors

September 14, 2020   |   Staff Writers

This guide explores the ways in which counselors' roles and responsibilities have changed since the COVID-19 outbreak. Keep reading for some ways counselors can manage stress in their professional and personal lives.

Loan Forgiveness for Counselors

Loan Forgiveness for Counselors

August 28, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Explore this guide to learn more about the options counselors can take advantage of to pay off their student loans, including loan forgiveness programs for counselors and details on the industries with the highest paying employment prospects.

Advertisement BestCounselingDegrees.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

View hand-picked degree programs