Major Depressive Disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States, with an estimated 17.3 million adults suffering from at least one major depressive episode in 2017. This all-too-common condition can cause serious impairment in the victim’s daily life, and for their loved ones, it can quickly become a roller coaster of mixed emotions, misunderstanding, and even abandonment. Luckily, there are treatment options available for those suffering from MDD.
What Is MDD?
MDD, or major depressive disorder, is a condition in which a person has pervasive feelings of overwhelming sadness, guilt, sorrow, and hopelessness for more than two weeks at a time. This can result in loss of interest in favorite activities or even impairment in everyday life; such as the inability to attend school or work.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of MDD can vary from person to person, but generally can include any of, or all of, the following:
- Loss of appetite or a major increase in appetite; under or over-eating, binge-eating, or starvation.
- Loss of sleep or disturbance of sleep patterns. This is a troublesome symptom, as the lack of energy from losing sleep can actually make dealing with other symptoms, or everyday life for that matter, much more difficult for the victim.
- Increased agitation or feelings of anger; not necessarily aimed at or caused by anyone or anything in particular.
- Loss of focus and/or concentration, causing grades to drop, work performance to slip, etc.
- Becoming withdrawn from activities and social situations/friends/family.
- Loss of interest in favorite activities or hobbies.
- Exhaustion and lethargy.
- Morbid thoughts, thoughts about death or suicide/violence.
- Rapid weight loss or gain.
- Feelings of isolation.
- Physical harm to oneself in the form of cutting, drug or alcohol abuse, or risky behaviors.
There are several treatment options available for MDD, but which treatment is right depends entirely on the person suffering from the illness. Some MDD sufferers need only the simplest treatments, while others may require advanced care up to hospitalization and rehabilitation. Sometimes, the MDD patients simply need someone to talk to; usually in the form of a certified counselor or psychologist.
Psychotherapy is a popular treatment option for those suffering from MDD and other mental health conditions. Psychotherapy gives the affected person a voice, allowing them to share their innermost thoughts and feelings with a trusted professional; who can then analyze these thoughts and feelings and help the victim work through the illness and find its root causes.
Often trauma is a cause of MDD, and is something that can be addressed in therapy. Trauma is caused by some major event in a person’s life; an impactful negative event that has left painful mental scars that arise in the form of MDD or other mental illnesses.
Events like assault, battlefield violence, sexual assault, and more can cause long-lasting emotional trauma that can develop into more serious mental health conditions. Psychotherapy is an excellent option for identifying and resolving those past traumas, or simply learning to accept them. This is a great starting point for working through MDD.
Another treatment option is medication. Medication can help stabilize moods and effectively reduce the effects of MDD on your everyday life. While not all medications are 100% effective for everyone, they are a good option when psychotherapy alone doesn’t seem to be helping.
There are far too many medications to list here, but talk to your psychiatrist if you feel that your symptoms are worsening, or that psychotherapy simply isn’t helping. Be wary of the side effects of your medications as well, as some have side effects that aren’t exactly helpful to MDD.
When a person’s safety or the safety of others is at risk because of MDD, hospitalization may be the best option. This will require the affected person to remain under lockdown for a certain period of time to ensure no harm befalls them or the people around them. Unfortunately, physical harm is a real and dangerous symptom of MDD, and cutting of the wrists or legs is a common practice.
4. Treatment Centers
There exist treatment centers for those suffering from long-term MDD. These rehabilitation centers focus on group exercises, individual and group therapy, and more, to help work through MDD and get to the root cause. Inpatient treatment centers are a good option for those who just can’t seem to get their MDD under control, even with psychotherapy and/or medication.
This is also an option for families who are unable to continue to give all of their time and energy to the affected person. MDD can not only interfere with the victim’s life, but with those around them as well. Sometimes caring for someone on a daily basis simply isn’t practical, and you might need to ask for help.
5. Alternative Treatments
While there are “alternative treatments” to MDD and other mental illnesses, it should be noted that things like CBD oil or THC and other alleged treatments don’t have enough research behind them yet to truly be listed as a “treatment” for these disorders. Understanding facts about CBD and THC and other alternative options require a lot of research, and should be discussed with your psychiatrist beforehand.
The Bottom Line
Major Depressive Disorder is a serious medical condition that should be taken seriously. If someone you love is suffering from any of the listed symptoms, or you’re suffering from them yourself, getting help as soon as possible is the single best way to successfully manage the illness before it worsens. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
Article Submitted By Community Writer