Major Depressive Disorder


Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a condition that affects a person’s mood, thinking, and behaviour. It is also known as clinical depression or major depression. MDD is a serious mental health illness that can have a significant impact on a person’s social and occupational functioning.


The symptoms of MDD can vary from person to person. The most commonly experienced symptoms include a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or weight, sleep disturbances, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.


The causes of MDD are not fully understood, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Research has shown that MDD is more common in people who have a family history of the condition, and it is also more likely to occur in people who have experienced significant life stressors or trauma.


There are several effective treatments available for MDD. The most commonly used treatments include antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Antidepressants work by regulating brain chemicals that affect mood, and psychotherapy helps people to understand and manage their emotions and behaviours. Cognitive-behavioural therapy involves changing negative patterns of thinking and behaviour to more positive ones. In some cases, electroconvulsive therapy may be used to treat MDD.


While it is not always possible to prevent MDD, there are things that people can do to reduce their risk of developing the condition. These include engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and engaging in stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga. If a person has a family history of MDD or has experienced significant life stressors or trauma, they may benefit from seeking the support of a mental health professional.


MDD is a serious mental health condition that can have a profound impact on a person’s life. However, with the right treatment and support, people can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of MDD, it is important to seek the advice of a mental health professional. Early intervention can lead to a better outcome and an improved quality of life.


FAQs about Major Depressive Disorder

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a type of mental illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and a general disinterest in life. People with MDD may have trouble sleeping or eating, and experience difficulty concentrating or making decisions. It affects a person’s emotional, physical, and mental well-being, and is classified as a serious medical condition that requires treatment.

What are some common symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder?

Some common symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder include: a persistent feeling of sadness or emptiness, irritability or restlessness, fatigue or loss of energy, a change in appetite or weight, trouble sleeping or oversleeping, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. If these symptoms persist for two weeks or more, individuals should seek professional help.

How is Major Depressive Disorder treated?

Major Depressive Disorder is treatable and individuals should never feel ashamed to seek help. Treatment options for MDD include psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medication, with some people responding better to one option over another. Some individuals benefit from a combination of both. Seeking professional help and developing a treatment plan that works for the individual is essential in managing symptoms of MDD and improving quality of life.


1. Daly, E. J., Trivedi, M. H., Wisniewski, S. R., & Nierenberg, A. A. (2016). Clinical features and diagnosis of major depressive disorder. In UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer.

2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

3. Rush, A. J., Trivedi, M. H., & Wisniewski, S. R. (2006). Acute and longer-term outcomes in depressed outpatients requiring one or several treatment steps: a STAR*D report. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(11), 1905-1917. doi:10.1176/ajp.2006.163.11.1905