Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder, commonly abbreviated as MDD, is also otherwise called recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression, or major depression. This type of mental disorder is distinguished by a combination of low mood and low self-confidence, along with loss of happiness and interest in generally enjoyable activities.

Here is a brief description about the signs and symptoms of Major depressive disorder. This condition can affect any individual, irrespective of their age and sex. In children, girls and boys are affected by clinical depression at almost the same rate. In adults, almost twice as many females as males are affected by this condition. It is more common for both the genders in the middle-aged individuals, that is around 25-44 years of age; and the least common for the elderly people, that is above the age of 65 years. As per the studies conducted by the Center for Mental Health Services, this disorder is found to be present in nearly one in every 33 children and in nearly one in eight adolescents.

Major depressive disorderImage source

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is a form of mental disorder which affects the entire body, and therefore the general health too. This condition influences the way of feeling, thinking and action of a person. If left untreated, depression can result in academic failure in the school/college, addiction to alcohol or drugs, and sometimes the individual affected by this disorder may even end up committing suicide. Studies have revealed out that, in the United States, about 3.4% of persons with clinical depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of individuals committing suicide had depression or some sort of mood disorder. In fact, the term “depression” is vague.

Major depressive disorder considerably affects an individual’s family as well as personal associations, occupational or academic life, brings change in the habits of sleeping and eating often resulting in insomnia(which means sleeplessness) and loss of weight due to poor appetite. Some persons often wake up very early in the morning, and then find it very difficult to sleep again. Sometimes, insomnia seems to be the effect of the stimulation of the central nervous system as a result of the administration of anti-depressant drugs to the patients suffering from major depression, as a therapeutic measure. Some other common signs and symptoms of this mood disorder include, persistent feeling of unhappiness and despair; remaining aloof from friends; agitation or irritability ; a feeling of sadness and discouragement; Lack of interest or inspiration; feelings of insignificance and profuse guiltiness, etc.

A few other physical signs and symptoms of Major depressive disorder include, frequency of physical complaints such as body ache, headache, abdominal pain, etc. Often co-occurrence of pain is found to be present in patients with major depression. In 65% of depressed patients, One or more pain symptom is present; and about five to 85% of patients with pain are found to be suffering from major depression. Other symptoms include, fatigue and low energy levels, inability to take concrete decisions, decreased concentration and unforgetfulness. This often results in poor academic performance in the school, in children. These children often remain gloomy and sad. They seem to be pessimistic about each and every aspects of life, maybe its the past, present or the future.

Although, insomnia has been reported in about 80% of the patients with Major Depressive Disorder, sometimes, they also seem to suffer from hypersomnia, which means excessive sleeping. Similarly, their appetite is also found to have increased more than normal. But of course, the common sign is a diminished appetite. This results in a marked decrease in the body weight in spite of the absence of following a diet to slim down. Usually, a variation of about 5% of the body weight per month is noted in such patients. However, a weight gain may also be noted, which of course is very rare.

Major depressive disorder, in fact is a mental illness which disables an individual, both physically, as well as mentally. Life expectancies in these individuals are found to be shorter, when compared with those without depression. This is mainly so because these individuals are more prone to develop various kinds of medical diseases, and may commit suicide. In fact, some of the physical and physiological features of this condition often seem to simyulate of those found in certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus. Often people with major depression are found to ruminate over unnecessary feelings of apologizes, self-hatred, frustration, irritability, etc. A few of them have symptoms of psychosis, which are symptoms of obsessive disorders, such as phobia or mania. Some of these also include delusions, which means some false beliefs or hope; and hallucinations, which means illusions, that is seeing or hearing something which are actually not present or audible. Often these psychotic symptoms are unpleasant or negative ones. For example, seeing a rope, they often feel afraid thinking it to be a snake. Similarly, in spite of having locked the door correctly, they will often have the suspicion of having not locked the door properly, and they keep on spending their time checking the same several times. Apart from these symptoms, diminished concentration is remarkably prominent in individuals with melancholic(dejected) or psychotic(sorrowful) features. They are also found to keep themselves withdrawn from social gatherings and activities. They have reduced interest in sex, and are found to have diminished sex drive. Relatives, friends and family members often notice a behavioral change in these patients, either an agitated mood, or a lethargic mood.

Major depressive disorder in elderly people is often associated with cognitive symptoms, like, loss of memory. The elderly people often also are found to have a relatively remarked slowing down of movements. Sometimes clinical depression in the elderly is found to co-exist with other diseased conditions, common amongst the elderly people such as, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, stroke or hemiplegia/paraplegia, chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases, commonly abbreviated as COPD, etc.

An irritable mood is more common in children with Major depressive disorder, than a depressed mood. Such children are often described as anxious, unself-confident, dependent, and challenging to manage.

Hence, the signs and symptoms of Major depressive disorder is not just feeling down morally, or experiencing a bad day. It is quite different from the feelings of grief or sorrow which one might experience following a huge loss, such as a death in the family. It is not considered as a personal weakness or a defect in the character of a person!

This Story, What is Major Depressive Disorder- Signs and Symptoms was originally published at Rxadvices on November 19, 2012 under Mental Health. Any kind of reproduction needs written consent from Rxadvices. Anybody copying this article is violating the copyrights of our website. If you find this content please notify us at We welcome your effort in preventing plagiarism and copyrights violation.

Share It and Enjoy:
[] [Digg] [Facebook] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter]