Major Depressive Disorder

Essay by vivaciousladkiHigh School, 11th gradeA, June 2004

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"Major Depressive Disorder"

DSM-IV 296

Presented for Mental Health and Illness

To Ms. Thurston

By Vidushi Singh

April 25, 2004

"An old clergyman who had recovered from a severe depression later badly scalded his thighs and abdomen. When asked which pain was worse, he said 'I would suffer the scalding a hundred times rather than depression. There is no comparison between the two.' " 1

Major Depressive Disorder (depression) is one of the most common and destructive illnesses in the U.S. today. About 40 million Americans will suffer from depression; without treatment, 15% will commit suicide. With treatment, though, the majority of patients recover.

Some experience few symptoms, some experience many. Some symptoms include persistent sad or anxious mood; pessimism, guilt; loss of interest in hobbies; fatigue; difficulty concentrating, making decisions; insomnia/ hypersomnia; loss/gain of weight or appetite (change of more than 5% of body weight in 1 month); thoughts of death/suicide, suicide attempts; depressed mood nearly daily for 2 or more weeks; physical symptoms that do not respond to antibiotics.

Most healthy people feel somewhat depressed for a day/few days but return to normal.

A depressed mood caused by drugs, alcohol or medications or a serious loss (grief) is not considered Major Depressive Disorder. Stress has been found to play a major role in the first 2 episodes of major depression; after that the disease has its own momentum (genetics and temperament).

Research has shown that cancer, stroke, etc. can cause depression by making the patient apathetic to their needs. Genetic, psychological and environmental factors are involved in the onset of depression.

The simple diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV 296.3x) for major depressive disorder includes: 1) at least 2 major depressive episode (with interval of 2 months), 2) no history of manic, mixed (bipolar disorder) or hypomanic...