Depressive Disorders 1

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Overview – Depressive Disorders, Part 1  

According to the World Health Organization, mood disorders involving depression are now the leading cause of disability and poor health worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people on Planet Earth. That is getting close to the entire estimated population of the USA. In addition, nearly half of individuals who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, which is a separate mental-health condition that can compound the disability and poor health.

Depressive disorders impact all genders, races, ages, economic groups, and backgrounds and are a leading trigger for divorce. Take depression, for instance. More females are diagnosed with depression than males. This may be a true representation of gender differences, or the data may simply reflect the fact that fewer males tend to seek help for depressive disorders. It is not considered macho or quintessentially male for a man to admit that he struggles with depression. Even when males do seek help, the symptoms they exhibit may lead to a misdiagnosis because depression tends to be exhibited differently in males than females. Estimates are that it takes 10 years and 3 different health professionals to properly diagnose depression in males.

Anhedonia, a core clinical feature of many depressive disorders, is an inability to experience pleasure in activities a person normally enjoys. Eventually it may lead to the perception that life is not worth living, including a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. In this 21st century, with its plethora of Internet activities around the clock, there is some speculation that sleep-deprivation may be a contributor to anhedonia. A study published in npj Digital Medicine pointed out that in addition to getting sufficient sleep for your brain, having regular bedtime and wake-up times is also important. Irregular sleep schedules can disrupt circadian rhythms and may cause or exacerbate existing mental health problems. In fact, sleep is independently linked with longevity. 

Depressive Disorders, Part 1, presents information on four different types, one each day for four days:

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a mental disorder in children and adolescents characterized by a persistently irritable or angry mood and frequent severe temper outbursts manifested verbally (e.g., verbal rages) and/or behaviorally (e.g., physical aggression toward people or property) that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation or provocation, and that are significantly more severe than the typical reaction of same-aged peers. In between outbursts, they exhibit chronic, persistent irritability.

Major Depressive Disorder (Single Episode)

Major Depressive Disorder (Single Episode) is believed to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It does not involve multiple or recurring episodes of major depression. The risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts or actions can make even one major depressive disorder a life-threatening condition.

Major Depressive Disorder MDD (Recurrent)

Major Depressive Disorder, recurrent, is believed to have biological underpinnings. It involves multiple and repeating depressive episodes. It can last for a few years or for a lifetime. Earlier diagnosis and initiation of appropriate therapies is encouraged and may be key in helping to minimize suicidal thinking. Without interventions the disorder can become increasingly severe.

Major Depressive Disorder (Recurrent) involves multiple episodes of psychological depression that cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts or actions—especially as the psychological depression reoccurs—makes major depressive disorder a serious and life-threatening condition.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia

Treatment for PDD or Dysthymia involves a combination of therapies and treatments. The most helpful type of psychotherapy depends on a number of factors, including the nature of any stressful events, medical judgement, the availability of family and other social support, and personal preference. 

Persistent Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia is a chronic form of depression that is present during most days—for most of the day—over a period of two years and has not been absent for more than two months at a one time. Drug abuse or medical disorders do not explain the symptoms. In children and adolescents, the duration must be at least one year, and the mood can be irritable. The symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia can cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 

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