Consequences of Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as unipolar and clinical depression, is listed as a serious mood disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is a debilitating disease that is characterized by “depressed mood, diminished interests, impaired cognitive function and vegetative symptoms, such as disturbed sleep or appetite.” World Health Organization (WHO) data estimate that more than 300 million people worldwide struggle with depression. Findings from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2017, report nearly 3.2 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 had experienced at least one major depressive episode. Major depressive disorder is a complex psychiatric disorder that affects mood, cognition, behavior, and impedes adaptive functioning. There is a plethora of effective treatment options for teenagers diagnosed with MDD. Epidemiological and clinical evidence suggests that major depressive disorder typically follows a recurrent course, with a third to half of the patients relapsing within one year of discontinuation of treatment.
Depression is considered recurrent if the symptoms present themselves after a period of remission. The severity of the depressive episodes can vary from mild depression (dysthymia) to severe depression. The consequences of recurrent MDD are wide-ranging. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients with long-term depression are more prone to sleep disruptions, heart disease, weight gain or loss, weakened immune system, and physical pain. The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry postulates that if clinical remission is not attained and sustained, depressive episodes tend to recur with “greater severity and with lessening responsivity to conventional treatments.” Major depressive disorder can cause changes in the physical structure and functioning of the brain. MDD is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, metabolic dysregulation, and cellular aging. Extending beyond functional impairment and mental ill-health, recurrence of major depressive disorder can lead to poor somatic health and age-related diseases.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, in the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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