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Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms and Causes

Major depressive disorder is a medical condition that affects your mood and ability to function. This type of disorder may occur only once during your life. During these times, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day including feelings of sadness and emptiness. As to what causes major depressive disorder, a variety of factors may be involved. 

Anxiety and stress

Signs and Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food 
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble thinking and concentrating
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts 

Factors That Cause Major Depressive Disorder

As with many mental disorders, a variety of factors may be involved, such as:

  • Hormones: Depression may be caused or triggered by changes in the body’s hormone balance. Pregnancy, postpartum, thyroid problems, menopause, and other conditions can cause hormonal changes.
  • Biological differences: There are physical changes in the brain of people who suffer from depression. It remains unclear what the significance of these changes is, but they may eventually help determine the cause.
  • Brain chemistry: Depression is likely caused by neurotransmitters, which are naturally occurring brain chemicals. According to recent research, changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and their interaction with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may contribute to depression.
  • Inherited traits: Depression is more prevalent in people whose blood relatives also suffer from it. Depressive disorders may be caused by genes, according to researchers. 
Alcohol or drug abuse

Complications Associated With Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is a serious illness that can be very difficult to deal with. Without treatment, depression can lead to emotional, behavioral, and health problems that affect every aspect of your life.

  • Pain or physical illness
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Excess weight or obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes
  • Family conflicts, relationship difficulties, and work or school problems
  • Social isolation
  • Anxiety, panic disorder, or social phobia
  • Suicidal feelings, suicide attempts, or suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting
  • Premature death from medical conditions

Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder

People with a major depressive disorder often have medications and psychotherapy to effectively treat the condition. 

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy or psychological therapy. It is a general term for treating depression by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health professional.  

Medications may include antidepressants such as:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

The usually recommended medication for major depressive disorder:

  • Escitalopram – is an antidepressant drug that is used in adults and adolescents 12 to 17 years of age. It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.