Are You Feeling Depressed? A Useful Catholic Guide Against Depression | Discussion

Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as , is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations.[1] It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, pain without a clear cause.[1] People may also occasionally have false beliefs or see or hear things that others cannot.[1] Some people have periods of separated by years in which they are normal while others nearly always have symptoms present.[3] Major depressive disorder can negatively affect a person’s personal, work, or school life, as well as sleeping, eating habits, general health.[1][3] Between 2–7% of adults with major depression die by suicide,[2] up to 60% of people who die by suicide had depression or another mood disorder.
The cause is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.[1] Risk factors include a family history of the condition, major life changes, certain medications, chronic health problems, and substance abuse.[1][3] About 40% of the risk appears to be related to genetics.[3] The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the person’s reported experiences and a mental status examination.[7] There is no laboratory test for major depression.[3] Testing, however, may be done to rule out physical conditions that can cause similar symptoms.[7] Major depression should be differentiated from sadness, which is a normal part of life and is less severe.[3] The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for depression among those over the age 12,[8][9] while a prior Cochrane review found that the routine use of screening questionnaires have little effect on detection or treatment.
Typically, people are treated with counseling and antidepressant medication.[1] Medication appears to be effective, but the effect may only be significant in the most severely depressed.[11][12] It is unclear whether medications affect the risk of suicide.[13] Types of counseling used include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy.[1][14] If other measures are not effective electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be tried.[1] Hospitalization may be necessary in cases with a risk of harm to self and may occasionally occur against a person’s wishes.
Major depressive disorder affected approximately 216 million people (3% of the world’s population) in 2015.[5] The percentage of people who are affected at one point in their life varies from 7% in Japan to 21% in France.[4] Lifetime rates are higher in the developed world (15%) compared to the developing world (11%).[4] It causes the second most years lived with disability after low back pain.[16] The most common time of onset is in a person in their 20s and 30s.[3][4] Females are affected about twice as often as males.[3][4] The American Psychiatric Association added “major depressive disorder” to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980.[17] It was a split of the previous depressive neurosis in the DSM-II which also encompassed the conditions now known as dysthymia and adjustment disorder with depressed mood.[17] Those currently or previously affected may be stigmatized.
Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

To diagnose clinical depression, many doctors use the symptom criteria for major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in day-to-day activities, such as work, school or social activities.

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Clinical depression can affect people of any age, including children. However, clinical depression symptoms, even if severe, usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two.

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