October is Depression Awareness Month

What is Major Depressive Disorder? 

MDD is characterized by having at least five of nine common symptoms. One of the symptoms must be either an overwhelming feeling of sadness or,

a loss of interest and pleasure in most usual activities.


The other symptoms that are associated with major depression include:


  • Decrease or increase in appetite

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation

  • Constant fatigue

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt

  • Recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation with or without specific plans for committing suicide

  • Cognitive difficulties, such as, diminished ability to think, concentrate and take decisions


The symptoms must persist for two weeks or longer and represent a significant change from previous functioning. Social, occupational, educational, or other important functioning are impacted by major depressive disorder. For instance, the person may start missing work or school, or stop going to classes or their usual social activities. 



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

Depression is more common than you might think . . .

280 million people report
struggling with depression annually according to
The World Health Organization

16.1 million American adults
are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in a given year according to

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America

The depression rate is almost

twice as high for women as for men,
of American adults 
suffer from low mood annually
[data gathered from the U.S. National Health & Nutrition Examination Surveys]

Effective treatment includes 
talk therapy and antidepressant medication

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