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Major depression, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.
The onset of depression is occurring earlier in life than in previous years, with women nearly twice as likely as men to develop major depression.
The following are the most common symptoms of major depression. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
For a diagnosis of major depression to be made, an individual must exhibit five or more of these symptoms during the same two-week period. The symptoms of major depression may resemble other psychiatric conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Because depression has shown to often co-exist with other medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, and other psychiatric disorders, such as substance abuse, or anxiety disorders, seeking early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to recovery.
A diagnosis is often made after a careful psychiatric examination and medical history performed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
Specific treatment for major depression will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment may include either, or a combination, of the following:
Two-thirds of persons with major depression do not seek the appropriate treatment, although 80 percent of all people with clinical depression who seek treatment improve, usually within weeks. Without treatment, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or years. Continued treatment may help to prevent reoccurrence of the depressive symptoms.