Every person experiences some level of sadness at one point or another. If a loved one dies or if you go through life changes, like a severe illness or divorce, that could cause feelings of sadness. Typically, these are short-lived feelings. If you experience intense feelings for an extended timeframe, that could be a major depressive disorder (MDD).
While it appears mostly as irritability, MDD’s most prominent symptoms include feeling a sense of despair, persistent and severe low mood, and profound sadness. Some also find it challenging to enjoy activities they once loved. If you’re battling depression and substance abuse, please contact Ethan Crossing Recovery today to learn about our dual diagnosis treatment program at 833.691.0736.
Defining Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder and clinical depression are interchangeable terms. Not only is this condition common, but it’s also a serious medical condition affecting your actions, feelings, and thoughts. This condition isn’t a weakness, and it also isn’t the “blues” that you can snap out of easily.
Over time, MDD could lead to a variety of emotional and physical issues. That could cause you to face challenges regarding work performance and functioning at home day-to-day. The good news is that MDD is treatable. Seeking help from a depression treatment program is your first step toward feeling better.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
Medical professionals diagnose individuals with a major depressive disorder after evaluating their behavior patterns, feelings, and other symptoms. They might do so by giving patients a questionnaire or by asking them questions.
Before you begin getting help at a mental health treatment program, patients must exhibit symptoms of MDD. Receiving an MDD diagnosis involves having five or more of the symptoms below:
- Experiencing feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Experiencing issues with concentration, decision making, or thinking
- Feeling irritability or sadness almost all day every day, or there’s a loss of interest in activities
- Issues with falling asleep or wanting to sleep more often than usual
- Patients are experiencing thoughts of harming themselves or suicide
- Restless feelings or experiencing a lack of energy
- Sudden weight gain or loss, or a significant change in the patient’s appetite
Understanding the Causes of Major Depressive Disorder
There is no specific known cause for MDD. However, there are risk factors that could increase the chances of developing this condition. For example, if someone experiences changes in their hormone balance or if there’s a combination of genes and stress, those could be contributing factors.
Triggers for MDD also might include abusing drugs or alcohol. There are also certain medical conditions, including hyperthyroidism or cancer, that could cause MDD. If someone is using specific medications, like steroids, that could lead to the development of MDD.
Your primary care provider might start depression treatment by prescribing antidepressant medications. Antidepressants, which you might also see as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), help inhibit serotonin from breaking down in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and, when SSRIs prevent it from breaking down, that results in higher amounts.
The belief is that serotonin is the chemical in the brain responsible for mood. This chemical might enhance healthy sleeping habits while simultaneously improving mood. It isn’t uncommon for those suffering from MDD to have low levels of serotonin.
Mental health treatment might also include an individual talk therapy program, which you might see as psychotherapy or psychological treatment. During this treatment, you meet with therapists regularly to discuss your condition and any other related issues. These therapy sessions can help you:
- Adjust to crises or other stressful events
- Develop coping strategies and problem-solving skills
- Improve your communication skills
- Increase your self-esteem
- Regain control and satisfaction in your everyday life
- Replace negative behaviors and beliefs with healthy and positive ones
Contact Ethan Crossing to Learn More About Major Depressive Disorder
If you feel like you’re experiencing major depressive disorder symptoms, now is the time to reach out for help. There’s no shame in receiving mental health treatment. Contact Ethan Crossing Recovery at 833.691.0736 to learn more about depression treatment and how our services can help.