Major Depressive Disorder or MDD is a very common clinical condition that affects millions of people every year. According to the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research, “ depression is under diagnosed & untreated by most medical doctors, despite the fact that it can almost always be treated successfully.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV); A person who suffers from this disorder must have a depressed mood, or have lost interest in things that would have normally brought them pleasure; for a minimum of two weeks. This must be different then the person’s normal behaviors, and it may not be caused by a general medical condition. (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)
Depression is an illness within itself that affects the “whole body”. (Staywell,1998) The body, feelings, thoughts, and behavior are all immensely altered when someone is depressed. It is not a sign of personal weakness, or a condition that can be wished or willed away. For some people depression is just temporary, but for others it can last for weeks, months and even years.
The exact causes of depression seem to differ immensely, but there are some who believe that it maybe caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, or that it may even be hereditary. Still there are others who believe that it is a combination of social, biological, emotional, psychological, and economical influences that may cause someone who has no family history of depression to develop even a mild case of depression.
“Women are two times more likely to develop depressive symptoms then men”(Psychosocial and Behavioral Factors in Women’s Health, 1990), and women who are among the child-bearing years tend to be more at risk. However this is not to say that men are not affected by depression. It is usually, because of negative social influences, such as economic instability, and/or the inability to handle stress in their lives.
Regardless of the person whether male or female who has developed the symptoms of depression, their lives have been invaded by a sickness that can have a devastating effect on their lives; depending on how severe their symptoms are. If left untreated the end result could have an even more devastating effect. Luckily, there are treatments available that are successful.
The first step to treatment should be a complete physical by a doctor, so that any medical condition is ruled out as the cause of depression. Then, the physician can start to focus on the causes and treatments available. The treatments for depression can be antidepressants, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
Treatments using anti-depressants is well documented, but there are very few studies documenting only the use of psychotherapy. However, in one study done using the Cognitive–behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP) as a maintenance treatment, the overall findings show that psychotherapy in itself can be successful. “ There were 82...