Major Depressive Disorder as Mental Illness


There are many names for such a mental disorder as depression – “the blues,” major depressive disorder, clinical depression, etc. – but all of them relate to the same disease. Depression can be characterized as a feeling of sadness and melancholy that continues most of the days of every day for not less than two weeks, and that is often accompanied by a sense of despair, nervous breakdown.

Nowadays, scientists fetch out different types of depression: catatonic, seasonal affective, melancholic, perinatal, psychotic, major, chronic depression, etc. The main character of the story, Jessica, seems to suffer from one of the most common depression types in the world – major depressive disorder (MDD). According to the World Health Organization, approximately 350 million people all around the world suffer from MDD. As for gender, the disease is likely to attack women more often than men.

Signs and symptoms

MDD can express itself in both physical and emotional ways. Concerning emotional symptoms, it is possible to mention tearfulness, intense irritability, sense of frustration, concentration difficulties, stress, and disability to relax. Moreover, such troubling signs as anchoring, loss of interest in activities that pleased before, and even suicidal thoughts can take place. Among physical symptoms of depression, it is necessary to mention sleep disturbance (insomnia, inability to wake up, drowsiness), constant fatigue, appetite disorders, unreasonable weight gain or loss, and often pains of unknown origin. Jessica has a part of the mentioned symptoms, which leads to suppose that she has depression.

It becomes hard for depressed people to go to work or school (they cannot concentrate on working or studying), to spend time with friends or family (the sick often feel too exhausted for any communication). In severe cases, it is not easy for them to carry out simple daily activities like dressing or eating. That is the reasonable explanation of Jessica’s sudden apathy that makes her take days off and spend them in bed.

Causes of the disorder

Unfortunately, the causes of depression can be very much different, which makes it hard to recognize and manage the disease in time. Most often, the trigger occurs to be abuse in the past (of different origin – emotional or physical), any unresolved conflicts, some drugs and illnesses, death or loss of a loved one, major events in life, and sometimes genetics. In one word, any stressful life factor can lead to depression – it is just the question of human tolerance and the power of the factor’s influence. In Jessica’s case, her self-rigorous character and inability to meet her high standards triggered the disease.

Possible Treatments

Fortunately, treatment is possible – nowadays, MDD is successfully treated with different medicaments (mainly, antidepressants) and psychotherapy. For most of the sick, the combination of these two methods has a favorable effect. However, if the long-term treatment did not lead to restoration, sometimes such radical methods as Electroconvulsive Therapy may be applied. Perhaps, in Jessica’s case, it will be enough to take a short-term course of treatment with a psychotherapist: she needs to find out the original reason for her disease, to accept and love herself in the way she is, and to put up with a fact that nobody is perfect. If it does not help, she may need to take antidepressants.

Conclusion and recommendations

Finally, it might be concluded that people should not underestimate the danger of major depressive disorder (MDD) but should aim to recognize and manage depression as fast as possible. It is a dangerous disease that starts with a light feeling of sadness and dissatisfaction caused by any stressful life factor and can lead to serious health problems. It is necessary to find out the reason for the disease (by yourself or with a specialist’s help), to neutralize it or to change the relation to it, to avoid stressful life factors. Besides, it is important to stay busy and keep in touch with friends and relatives, to lead a healthy life and do sport, and – most important – to work on yourself regularly. Undoubtedly, it is not medicaments that help the sick to get rid of depression but their desire and efforts.

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