Dr. Gary Bell
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is more than simply feeling sad, experiencing grief, or being super drained of energy. Those feelings are valid, but like most feelings, they’ll eventually pass. MDD is an often-debilitating mental illness that presents as a cluster of depressive symptoms.
For most people, clinical depression won’t go away on its own and you can’t “just snap out of it.” While melancholy and exhaustion are part of depression, there are other symptoms to look for, including losing interest in things you once enjoyed, trouble sleeping, sudden crying spells, withdrawing from others, hopelessness, thoughts of self-harm or suicide, and more.
Depressive episodes vary in severity and duration, but they must last for two weeks or more to qualify for an MDD diagnosis. Many people with clinical depression do their best to conceal symptoms from the people around them. They may feel vulnerable and embarrassed for showing “weakness,” or worry that their friends and colleagues might judge them or just plain ghost them.
Remember: MDD is not a negative attitude, a character flaw, or a sign of weakness. Tune in and learn how to recognize Major Depressive Disorder!
Some people with depression can’t recognize depression in themselves. They’re not necessarily imperceptive. Symptoms can pop up gradually and, before you know it, you haven’t been to work, showered, or changed out of your pajamas in three days. Classic depression attributes like hopelessness and suicidal comments are easy to spot, but some signs are less obvious.
If you’re sad because you lost your job, are going through a breakup, or lost someone in your life, it’s certainly no fun, but it’s also pretty normal. Sadness, even extreme sadness, is a natural reaction to events like these. That said, regular sadness can also turn into depression. If the feelings don’t get better over time, or if your mood starts to get in the way of your daily life, you might be developing a case of depression.
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