Table of Contents
What is Major Depressive Disorder?
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a deep sadness that lasts longer than two weeks and includes at least 5 depressive symptoms. Of those symptoms, diminished interest/pleasure and/or depressed mood must be present. The other additional symptoms may include weight and/or appetite changes, insomnia, fatigue, cognitive impairment, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts of death, or psychomotor hindrance.
What causes Major Depressive Disorder?
There is typically no singular cause for MDD, but rather a multitude of risk factors that contribute to its development including genetics, chemicals and hormones in the brain, and stress from environmental factors.
What happens in the brain during Depression?
High levels of cortisol from stress and depression may shrink the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus while enlarging the amygdala. Abnormalities and imbalance of these parts of the brain cause irregularities in hormones and cognitive processes, affecting memory, emotional responses, decision making, energy, and more.
How is Major Depressive Disorder treated?
Fundamentals for treating MDD include a healthy diet and physical activity, sufficient sleep, and abstinence from nonprescribed drugs and alcohol. Psychotherapy and medications may improve one’s condition. No one specific therapy or medication will work for everyone, which is why someone with MDD must discuss their treatment options with an appropriate doctor.
How long does Major Depressive Disorder last?
The timeline for MDD is different for everyone but lasts a minimum of two weeks, potentially lasting a lifetime. Symptoms may improve with time, especially with treatment, but every person responds differently. Recurring depression can happen at any time, and those with MDD should learn proper coping mechanisms to avoid relapse.
IS MDD a disability?
MDD can be considered a disability by law if symptoms are severe enough, debilitating one from work or other necessities to one’s livelihood. To apply for benefits from social services, one must obtain a professional diagnosis from a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.
Major Depression Treatment in San Diego
Major depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Depression is a medical condition that can cause severe symptoms that interfere with daily life. Its varying severities can affect relationships, productivity, sleep, activity, and almost any other aspect of a person’s life.
Depression is caused by multiple contributors, including genetic, biological, environmental, and other factors. These factors can cause emotional, cognitive, and physical instability.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that less than 50% of people who suffer from depression receive treatment. This is partially due to the unfair stigma that has been attached to depression over the years. Another contributing factor is that people in the midst of depressive despair are often unable or unwilling to reach out to others for help.
Our Major Depression Treatment Program in San Diego
Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder can be complicated. But, through professional treatment programs, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms.
For over a decade, the experts at our San Diego Depression Treament Center have observed this condition in hundreds of people with depression who have come to us for behavior therapy. We utilize the most current research and evidence-based healing practices for the most successful outcomes.
Solara MentalHealth recognizes that depression is not experienced in the same way by everyone. There is a broad spectrum of depressive disorders. That is why we create highly personalized treatment plans and procedures to address each individual’s specific needs.
We utilize multiple comprehensive treatments:
- Individual therapy
- Talk therapy
- Small group therapy
- Holistic therapies
- Medication management, when appropriate
The American Psychiatric Association has reported that a combination of psychotherapy and psychiatric drugs (when possible) is the most effective means of treating Major Depressive Disorder. By providing a full spectrum of therapeutic services, we can treat each individual’s unique depressive condition.
Our mental health treatment center in San Diego provides an entirely safe, supportive setting that is monitored by highly trained, experienced, and caring professionals who understand debilitating depression. The clinical team at our San Diego psychiatric facility have extensive experience and broad expertise that enable us to provide effective treatments for depression.
Healing environments at beautifully appointed, private residences and adjacent clinical offices provide a refuge from the stress and struggle of everyday life. This gives our veterans the time, space, and direction they need to focus on long-term healing. Residences like our Pacific Beach location allow us to identify and understand the complicated emotions caused by depression.
If you or a family member are suffering from depression, contact us now to start the healing process.
Major Depression Treatment for Veterans
Depression is a common mental health disorder in the general population, but even more common in veterans. Active duty can increase the risk of developing major depression. Nearly one in eight veterans struggle with major depression that requires therapy or medication for treatment.
Solara Mental Health is VA contracted as a community care provider that can help veterans with mental health services and treatments. The availability to treat individuals with VA insurance allows us to help veterans with many mental health disorders, including veteran depressive disorders.
Diagnosing Major Depression
Being sad is a regular part of life. Though, it shouldn’t be a lasting emotion. When a depressed mood has continued for two weeks or more, it may be time to see a health professional.
Be mindful and tell your doctor if you have experienced any of these depressive symptoms:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness
- Reduction or complete loss of interest in relationships, interests, activities and so on, which were formally enjoyable
- Significant increase or decrease in sleep
- Fatigue, listlessness and general loss of energy
- Irritability or anger
- Memory problems and general slowness in cognitive function
- Unwarranted feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Changes in appetite, including both overeating or under eating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Not every symptom will be experienced by different individuals with depression. Frequency and severity of symptoms will vary depending on the stage of their illness, the type of depression, and its cause, among other issues.
Certain risk factors may add to or be the cause for major depression:
- Other illnesses and their prescribed medications
- Substance abuse
- A family or personal history of depression
- Stress or Trauma
- Major life changes
Medical professionals evaluate the severity of common mental health disorders using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). DSM-5 for depression in adults is scored through an eight-item measuring system. The system questions patients on the frequency of certain feelings (from never to always) during the past week:
- I felt worthless.
- I felt that I had nothing to look forward to.
- I felt hopeless.
- I felt sad.
- I felt like a failure.
- I felt depressed.
- I felt unhappy.
- I felt hopeless.
Types of Depression
Everyone experiences depression differently. Similarly, the symptoms of clinical depression can vary on a case by case basis. There are various subcategories of depression that are distinguished by specific characteristics:
Anxious Distress — Depression coupled with anxiety, usually causing worry about things beyond a person’s control.
Mixed Features — Similar to manic episodes of bipolar disorder, a person may have bouts of elevated self-esteem and energy.
Melancholic Features — A damaging form of major depressive disorder that is usually treated with antidepressant medications. It typically results in a lack of interest in activities and suicidal thoughts.
Atypical Features — Affecting appetite, sleep, energy, and sensitivity to rejection.
Psychotic Features — typically results in a disconnect from reality and caused by lament over shortcomings and persistent negative thoughts.
Catatonia — causes speechlessness, motionlessness, or purposeless movements for extended periods.
Peripartum Onset — affects women before or after giving birth.
Seasonal Pattern — A sensitivity to sunlight, commonly seen in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where a person becomes depressed in winter and fall.