Major Depressive Disorder: Understanding the Mood Disorder

As human beings we tend to feel desolated over a melancholic event or death of a person or loss of a thing. Taking this into account, what else then is major depression? What makes it different from the normal sadness?

Major depression, also goes by the names such as major depressive disorder – MDD, recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression or unipolar disorder, is described as an all-encompassing low mood and reluctance to activities supposed found enjoyable. Patients with MDD are usually given an antidepressant like Zoloft that acts on chemicals in the brain. It is often given as a monotherapy as Zoloft can perilously interact with other substances including alcohol.

Often, we associate depression straightaway to both MDD and lower mood states lacking clinical significance. MDD may badly affects one’s health in general, family, work or school life, sleeping and eating proclivities. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV-TR) has a few criteria for diagnosing depressive conditions.

At least one of the 2 major symptoms need to be present to be diagnosed with MDD – depressed mood and anhedonia (or the inadequacy to show enjoyment to an activity that used to be enjoyable). Moreover, these symptoms need to be consistent for at least a period of two weeks. Further, DSM –IV-TR excludes cases where the symptoms are accounted by bereavement although it is possible that an MDD might have evolved from the normal bereavement.

Still, the following symptoms may also be present in a person suffering from MDD:

  • Diminished ability to concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Significant weight loss when not on a diet or weight gain, or a change in appetite
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation or a suicidal attempt
  • Fatigue or loss of energy

Mood disorders like MDD should not be taken lightly and medical consultation is advised. Above all, it is not advisable to take Zoloft if you are not diagnosed with MDD by a medical specialist. Adverse events may be unavoidable and Zoloft birth defects are likely to develop if you are pregnant or if you are planning to conceive a child.

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