Depression (MDD)

What is Depression (MDD)?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) may be very serious if left untreated and ignored with significant morbidity and mortality and may contribute to suicide, disruption in interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, and many other unwanted outcomes. Depression is more prevalent among females and people aged 40-59. However, with appropriate treatment, the majority of individuals with MDD can achieve a significant reduction in symptoms. 

What are the risk factors of Depression (MDD)?

The specific cause of MDD is not known, however, there are both genetic and environmental factors that may play a significant role. Evidence suggests that major depression may be inherited. First degree relatives of depressed individuals are 3 times more likely to develop depression. Certain stressors in a person’s life may also cause depression, such as loss of a loved one, chronic pain, medical illness, and psychosocial stress. Other risk factors for depression include lack of social support systems, caregiver burden, loneliness, negative life events, and bereavement. 

What are the signs and symptoms of Depression (MDD)?

Most people with MDD present with a normal appearance. Those with more severe symptoms may appear with a decline in grooming and hygiene, as well as a change in weight. There are certain criteria that must be met in order to properly diagnose a person with MDD. 

Depressed mood or anhedonia (loss of pleasure) or loss of interest in activities, with at least 5 associated symptoms almost every day for most of the days for at least 2 weeks: fatigue almost all day, insomnia or hypersomnia, feeling of guilt or worthlessness, recurring thoughts of death or suicide, psychomotor agitation, significant weight change (gain or loss), decreased or increased appetite, decreased concentration/indecisiveness. 

How to diagnose Depression (MDD)?

Your doctor may use different screening tests to diagnose you with depression. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-2 form is typically used for the initial screen. If positive, the PHQ-9 form may be used.

How to manage Depression (MDD)?

In all populations, the combination of medication and psychotherapy is generally used to manage depression. SSRIs, such as citalopram, escitalopram, paroxetine, fluoxetine, sertraline, and fluvoxamine are often the first-line medications used to treat mild to moderate depression in conjunction with psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Patients who fail to respond to medical therapy may better respond to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT may also be sued for people with severe symptoms of depression.

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