Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (Depression)

If you are experiencing a consistent sad mood and the loss of interest in nearly all activities, you may be suffering from major depressive disorder. In addition to a depressed mood and loss of pleasure, those who suffer from depression will experience one or more of the symptoms in the following section.

Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder

Major depression can appear at any age. About 7% percent of the population in the U.S. will experience major depression. There are, however, differences in age groups. For example, people age 18-29 are three times more likely to experience major depression than individuals 60 and older. Also, women experience depression at rates up to three times higher rates than men beginning in early adolescence.

To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, five or more of the following symptoms must have been present for two weeks in a row. These symptoms must be different than your usual functioning, and not clearly the result of a medical condition. 

  • Feeling depressed for most of the day, almost every day (evidenced by feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness). These depressed feelings may be noticeable by others around you.
  • Experiencing a reduction in your typical levels of interest or pleasure. This drop in interest/pleasure may affect nearly all activities and last for most of the day, most days of the week.
  • Decrease in your appetite or a 5% or more weight gain or loss. This does not include intentional weight gain or loss.
  • Difficulty falling asleep, and/or sleeping too much.
  • Feelings of agitation and/or of being slowed down in your body and movements.
  • Fatigue or low energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt nearly every day. People who care about you would not and do not agree with these feelings.
  • Decreased ability to think and/or concentrate, and difficulty making decisions nearly every day.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just a fear of dying), recurrent suicidal thoughts without a specific plan, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To diagnose MDD, a sufferer’s experiences must not be better explained as a response to a major loss, grief, or financial ruin. This includes losses from a major disaster, medical illness, or disability. In addition, the episode must not be better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, or delusional disorder. Finally, the sufferer’s experience must not include manic or hypomanic episodes.

Consult an expert

The symptoms experienced by MDD sufferers cause a great deal of distress. The symptoms may significantly interfere with their ability to function as work, school, or in other social situations. While, the course of major depression varies, it has been shown to respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. There is hope. 

Contact Harold Kirby at 610-517-3127 to schedule a consultation or appointment to discuss treatment for depression. Harold provides telehealth treatment for clients in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (Main Line, Montgomery County, Camden, Cherry Hill), as well as in the South Carolina Lowcountry (Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort, Colleston County, Dorchester County, Berkeley County, Charleston).