Major depressive episode is a psychiatric condition where someone feels depressed, most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. When someone experiences this kind of deep depression, and it lasts longer than two weeks, or if they experience multiple major depressive episodes in their life, they are then diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
Major depression can come on by itself, or it can be a response to a life loss or trauma- such as the loss of a parent, a spouse, a child, or even a beloved pet. Even people who normally “bounce-back” from a loss can find that more difficult to do, sometimes.
Major depression is characterized by several symptoms; we’ll discuss a few of them in this article:
- Disrupted Sleep – this can take the form of insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or with waking too early or it can show up as sleeping more than usual, and still feeling tired.
- Loss of Interest – when someone is feeling depressed, they often lose interest in activities and relationships they used to enjoy. They may avoid their friends, or isolate and withdraw from their family. They may feel disinterested in activities they used to enjoy, such as going out to eat, watching movies, or taking part in usual hobbies.
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness – these are another classic symptom of depression. People struggling with depression often feel worthless or guilty; and they may spend a lot of time thinking about past mistakes and failures; whether big or small. They are also likely to feel guilty for past actions and behaviors, even though they can’t change those now.
- Loss of Energy – those experiencing depression often feel tired, and lacking in motivation or energy to keep up with their daily activities, such as self-care and household chores, or they may find themselves completing routine tasks much more slowly than usual.
- Concentration – people experiencing depression can sometimes be distracted; making it difficult to watch TV, read a book, or to hold a conversation. This difficulty in concentrating can further decrease their interest and motivation to communicate and connect. It can just feel too hard.
Depression is a condition that impacts 300 million people worldwide. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that 16.2 million adults have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. It’s estimated that 15 percent of US adults will experience major depression in their lifetime. Major depression is more common than you might think.
When considering treatment for depression, it’s wise to look at a combination of medication and psychotherapy. For some people, typical antidepressant drugs don’t really work- or they don’t work well enough.
At CBHHealth, we study depression through our clinical research trials. The data we collect helps develop new treatment options for those suffering from depression.
If you’d like to learn more about our depression research program, please submit the form below: