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Major (Unipolar) Depressive Disorder Essay

1549 words - 6 pages

Major depressive disorder, sometimes referred to as Unipolar Depression, describes a leading disruptive mental state which effects about 10-20 percent of the world's population in the course of a lifetime. This disorder must be regarded as a significantly important state, as it strikes its victim psychologically, socially and sometimes even physically, impairing normal daily behaviour.Understanding Major Depressive DisorderHISTORY:Out of the many mental illnesses that have either arose or been discovered, depression has the longest background in history. Societies and cultures throughout the ages have noticed depression, classifying it as an illness, as a symptom to a disease, as insanity, unaware as to why the despondency and mournfulness had come about or what to do to alleviate this state from its victim.The first obvious and direct reference to depression, or major depressive disorder (as it is now referred to), was conveyed by Hippocrates in 400 BC, who labeled this disorder "melancholia". This term was later referenced to in about 30 AD by Aulus Cornelius Celsus. Aulus Cornelius Celsus wrote in his monumental 15th century encyclopedia De medicina (which is now regarded as one of the greatest medical classics, though it was predominantly disregarded by his contemporaries) about his belief that melancholia was caused by a physical affliction of black bile. Later, in the 12th Century, Moses Maimonides, a redoubtable Jewish philosopher, jurist and physician, claimed that melancholia was in fact a singular disease, not a symptom, side effect or mystical occurrence.As scientific methods and theories developed over time, the concept of depression, though it lost its classification as melancholia, remained one of controversy, with different arguments as to its cause and cure, and surely will continue to be debated upon for centuries to come.EPIDEMIOLOGY:Major depressive disorder is a common disorder paining both women and men, though depression is more frequent in women than in men, with a striking lifetime prevalence of approximately 15 percent. In fact, there are some studies which suggest that for women, the lifetime prevalence of clinical depression could be as elevated as 25 percent. The causes as to such differences between the rates of depression in women and men are unknown, but research has hypothesized that these distinctions may be due to hormonal rates, the effects of childbirth, variant psychosocial tensions and disparities in female and male socialization.For 50 percent both women and men with major depressive disorder, the onset of the disorder occurs between the ages of 20 and 50. Although it is definitely true that this disease can strike in younger or older individuals, it is rare to see the onset of this disorder in those age groups, though the rate of affliction is rising in the adolescent population.Major depressive disorder can strike anyone of any gender, race or age, and although the course of the disorder is extremely...

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