Major Depression: 6 Symptoms that You Need to Know

Major depression can occur at any age, but it's more common in adults. There are several aspects you should know about this disease in order to detect and treat it in time. We tell you what they are.
Major Depression: 6 Symptoms that You Need to Know

Last update: 27 May, 2021

Major depression is one of the most serious mood disorders in this category, and is considered by the World Health Organization to be one of the leading causes of disability in the world.

When the signs and symptoms of this condition are long-lasting, and its intensity moderate or severe, it can become a serious health problem that affects the entire environment of the person suffering from it.

Depression can originate due to several causes involving social, psychological and biological factors. In any case, it’s important to know more about some important aspects of this disease. Below we tell you what they are.

1. Possible causes

Major depression is a complex condition, with many nuances, both for science itself and for patients. This is because it’s a disorder that, in general, doesn’t have a single trigger, but is a multifactorial condition.

On the one hand, genetics, upbringing, education received and possible traumas experienced are factors to be assessed, as well as the adversities experienced in youth and the social context. At the same time, low self-esteem, learned helplessness, and some cognitive problems can also be determining in the causes of depression.

Also, many times, it’s due to a chemical problem, such as a decrease in dopamine levels. Therefore, it’s essential to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.

A young man sitting on the floor looking sad.

2. Anhedonia in major depression

One of the main characteristics of major depression is anhedonia or the inability to experience pleasure. However, not all people with this symptom have depression.

The main signs of anhedonia are the following:

  • Disinterest in things around them
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Constant irritability
  • Lack of initiative
  • Inability to carry out any activity

3. The most common symptoms of major depression

According to a Harvard Medical School publication, a person can be diagnosed with this type of disease if he or she presents several of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Decreased or increased weight or appetite
  • Increased or decreased sleep
  • Fatigue and loss of energy for no apparent reason
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Poor concentration or indecisiveness

4. There isn’t one type of major depression

Something that we should make clear is that when we talk about mental illness, each case is unique. Each person is different and presents a series of unique characteristics. Knowing how to treat them is essential. At the same time, it’s important to realize that there are two types of depression:

  • Major depression with only one episode that the person experiences only once in life.
  • Recitative depression: this is much more complex and in fact, is more common. There are many patients who have already had major depression in adolescence and afterward more than once in adult life.

5. Risk Factors

Depression can occur at any age, but is more likely to occur in adulthood. Regarding other risk factors for depression, a publication by the National Institute of Mental Health points out the following:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Major life changes, trauma or stress
  • Certain physical illnesses and medications

6. There are treatments for major depression

A female patient crying while talking with her doctor.

When dealing with major depression, several approaches are necessary and, in fact, the more options you have, the better. According to the publication mentioned above, the most common treatment is a combination of psychotherapy, with the cognitive-behavioral approach being the most appropriate, and certain medications.

Usually, several trials are necessary to find the medication that works best. Once established, the correct dosage must be found according to need.

What else can be done to counteract this condition?

Although treatment with medication and psychotherapy is the most effective and the most recommended, there are several healthy habits and different techniques that can be adopted to complement it.

Among them are: Regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, not isolating oneself, seeking help and talking to other people about it, not expecting your mood to change from one moment to the next, among others.

In addition to this, it’s important to pay close attention to the signs and symptoms, and seek help from a professional to establish the appropriate procedure according to the case.

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