Major Depressive Disorder Impact on Overall Health
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as depression or clinical depression is a mental health disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that depression is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. Although depression can develop at any age, symptoms commonly surface in adolescence and young adulthood. 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. Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects nearly ten percent of the general population in America.
The symptoms of major depressive disorder can vary widely, but as is explained by
Johns Hopkins Medicine, they are typically divided into the following three main categories:
- Emotional and cognitive (thinking) symptoms: which can include depressed mood, lack of interest or motivation in previously enjoyed pastimes, problems making decisions, irritability, excessive worrying, memory problems, and excessive guilt.
- Physical symptoms: which can include fatigue, sleep problems (such as waking too early, problems falling or staying asleep, sleeping too much), changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, aches and pains, headaches, heart palpitations, and burning or tingling sensations.
- Behavioral symptoms: which can include crying uncontrollably, having angry outbursts, withdrawing from friends and family, abusing alcohol or drugs, cutting, or otherwise engaging in self-harming behaviors, and considering or attempting suicide.
Research has documented many ways that depression can affect physical health including the following examples provided by Medical News Today:
- Weight gain or loss
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- Sexual health problems
- Worsening chronic health conditions
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal problems
A major depressive disorder that goes untreated can increase the risk of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, substance abuse, and more. Major depressive disorder is a complex psychiatric disorder that affects mood, cognition, behavior, and impedes adaptive functioning. If left untreated, MDD can adversely affect one’s overall health and lead to short and long-term physiological complications.
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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