Depression In Adults

Learn About Depression In Adults

I Feel Depressed: Is This Major Depression?

There are times when most people feel sad, down, blue, or depressed. When does this become the illness of Major Depressive Disorder? The Major Depression Syndrome includes feeling sad, low, blue, or depressed; but may also include a lack of interest in most things, even without the depressed feelings. Further, there are problems with physical and mental stamina, and negative, guilty thoughts about oneself that may include a desire to die or a wish to be dead. In fact, this “pathological loss of self-regard” is present in most forms of depression such that if it is present at all, a depressive syndrome is likely.

In addition to the symptoms of a depressive syndrome, a Major Depressive Episode requires that the symptoms be present most of the day, nearly every day, for two weeks or more, and that the symptoms cause significant distress and impairment (in the spheres of personal, interrelational, and occupational functioning). Finally, it is critical to ensure that the Major Depressive Episode is not the part of another illness such as Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia, is not due to the direct action of a substance, nor the result of a non-psychiatric medical illness before the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is made. Therefore, careful consideration of multiple factors is required to make an accurate diagnosis, without which rational treatment is impossible.

Now it can be seen that Major Depressive Disorder is a syndrome, or collection of symptoms. When those symptoms are present in sufficient number and duration resulting in distress and impairment, the syndrome becomes an episode. Finally, when the episode can be established as not occurring exclusively with, or due to, the use of substances or another psychiatric or non-psychiatric medical condition, we say that Major Depressive Disorder is present.

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