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Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression, is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is recognized as a serous mood disorder. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “a mood disorder is a mental health class that health professionals use to broadly describe all types of depression and bipolar disorders.” Major depressive disorder is a complex psychiatric disorder that affects mood, cognition, behavior, and impedes adaptive functioning. It is characterized by persistently depressed mood and/ or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, impairing one’s ability to function in his or her daily life. There is no single identifiable cause of depression, rather Harvard Health asserts that there are many possible causes of depression. 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. 

Signs and Symptoms 

Every individual is different and as such the signs and symptoms of one’s depression will manifest distinctly. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and will directly depend on the individual and his or her circumstances. Common examples of signs and symptoms that could be exhibited by an individual struggling with depression, may include, but are not limited to any combination of the following, provided by the American Psychiatric Association (APA):

  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed pastimes
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/ or pessimism
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased fatigue 
  • Feeling worthless and/ or guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Moving and/ or talking more slowly than usual
  • Suicidal ideation

It is important to note that not all signs and symptoms must be present for an individual to be diagnosed with depression. Major depressive disorder that goes untreated can increase the risk of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, substance abuse, and more. 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, 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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