Definition of Major Depressive Disorder


Each year about 25 million men and women in the United States will experience an
episode of major depression also referred to as major depressive disorder. Other names for this illness include clinical depression, major depressive illness, major affective disorder or unipolar mood disorder. No matter what it is technically called, major depressive disorder is a disabling health condition, costing the United States more than $80 billion a year in lost productivity and treatment.

Defining the Disease

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the definition of depression is:

Depression is a serious emotional and biological disease. Major depression may require long-term treatment to keep symptoms from returning just like any other chronic medical illness. Major depression is a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. Depression is a life-long condition in which periods of wellness alternate with recurrences of illness.

Identifying Symptoms

Symptoms of major depressive disorder may vary from person to person, but may include one or more of the following:

  • • Changes in sleep
  • • Changes in appetite
  • • Poor concentration
  • • Loss of energy
  • • Lack of interest
  • • Low self-esteem
  • • Hopelessness or guilt
  • • Movement changes

Getting Diagnosed

If you think you may be experiencing depression, it’s important that you receive an accurate diagnosis so that you and your doctor can develop a treatment plan that works best for you. As devastating as a diagnosis of depression may be, it’s important to know that it is treatable.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Health


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