What is Major Depressive Disorder?
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), commonly known as depression, is a common mental health condition that affects many individuals in the UK.
Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day; it encompasses a range of symptoms that can affect appetite, sleep, concentration, and overall well-being.
If you think you may have depression, it’s crucial that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you speak to someone about how you’re feeling, the sooner you can begin to take positive steps in your mental health recovery.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
Depression is characterised by a range of symptoms that have a significant impact on a person’s emotional well-being and daily life.
Recognising these symptoms and seeking professional help is crucial for managing depression. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can greatly improve an individual’s well-being and quality of life.
Here are key symptoms associated with depression:
- Persistent sadness: Feeling deeply sad or empty most of the time, nearly every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure: Losing interest in activities once enjoyed, finding it hard to experience joy or satisfaction
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns: Experiencing significant changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or gain, and disruptions in sleep, such as insomnia or excessive sleepiness
- Fatigue and low energy: Feeling tired, lacking energy, and struggling to perform even simple tasks
- Difficulty concentrating: Having trouble focusing, making decisions, or experiencing memory problems
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness: Experiencing excessive guilt, self-blame, or feelings of worthlessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide: Having thoughts of death, dying, or suicidal ideation, which require immediate attention and support
For more information on the symptoms of depression, visit the NHS website.
Causes and Risk Factors of Major Depressive Disorder
It’s important to understand that the following factors can interact and influence each other, increasing your vulnerability to depression. Recognising these causes and risk factors can help inform appropriate support and treatment for those affected by depression.
However, it’s important to note that not everyone with these factors will develop depression, and individuals without these factors can still experience depression.
Here are the key factors associated with depression:
- Biological Factors: Biological influences play a role in depression. Genetic factors can increase the susceptibility to depression, as it may run in families. Additionally, imbalances in brain chemistry, particularly involving neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, are believed to contribute to depressive symptoms.
- Psychological Factors: Psychological factors can significantly impact depression. Negative thinking patterns, such as constant self-criticism or pessimism, can contribute to the development or exacerbation of depressive symptoms. Traumatic experiences, such as abuse or loss, can also increase the risk of developing depression.
- Environmental Factors: Environmental factors can influence the onset of depression. Adverse life events, such as the loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, or relationship problems, can trigger depressive episodes. A lack of social support or experiencing social isolation can also contribute to the development of depression.
How to Treat and Manage Your Major Depressive Disorder
Treating and managing depression involves various approaches that can help individuals feel better and improve their lives.
Here are the main strategies:
- Having a strong support network: Having supportive family, friends, and being part of support groups can make a significant difference in managing depression. They can help provide understanding, emotional support, and a sense of belonging.
- Making changes to your lifestyle: Engaging in regular exercise, adopting a healthy diet, and ensuring sufficient sleep contribute to overall well-being and can alleviate depressive symptoms.
- Speaking to a professional: Speaking to a therapist, such as a cognitive-behavioural therapist or an interpersonal therapist, can be highly beneficial. They can assist in changing negative thinking patterns, developing coping skills, and enhancing relationships.
- Taking a prescribed medicine: In some cases, doctors may prescribe antidepressant medications like sertraline. These medications can rebalance brain chemicals and effectively reduce depressive symptoms.
It’s important to remember that treatment for depression is personalised, and different approaches may be combined based on individual needs.
Order Your Antidepressants Online with Healthera
If you’ve been prescribed medication by your GP to help lessen the symptoms of depression, you can place your prescription order online using the Healthera mobile app.
It only takes a couple of minutes to set up your order for collection or home delivery from your local pharmacy.
To get started, simply click the button below to open or download your Healthera app: