Major Depressive disorder, commonly called major depression, unipolar depression,

or clinical depression, where a person has one or more major depressive episode.

After a single episode, Major Depressive Disorder (single episode) would be

diagnosed. After more than one episode, the diagnosis becomes Major Depressive

Disorder (Recurrent). Depression without periods of mania is sometimes referred to

as unipolar depression because the mood remains at one emotional state or “pole”.

A person having a major depressive episode usually exhibits a very low mood, which

pervades all aspects of life, and an inability to experience pleasure in activities that

were formerly enjoyed. They develop feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt

or regret, helplessness, hopelessness, and self-hatred. In severe cases, depressed

people may have symptoms of psychosis. Insomnia is common among the depressed.

Hypersomnia or oversleeping can also happen.

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  • Five further subtypes of MDD, called specifiers..
  • Melancholic Depressionis characterized by a loss of pleasure in most or all

activities, a failure of reactivity to pleasurable stimuli, a quality of depressed mood

more pronounced than that of grief or loss, a worsening of symptoms in the morning

hours, early morning waking, psychomotor retardation, excessive weight loss, or

excessive Guilt.

  • Catatonic Depression

is a rare and severe form of major depression involving

disturbances of motor behavior and other symptoms. Here the person is mute and almost stupors, and either remains immobile or exhibits purposeless or even bizarre

movements. Catatonic symptoms also occur in schizophrenia or in manic episodes,

or may be caused by neuroleptic malignant syndrome

  • Psychotic Major Depression

simply psychotic depression, is the term

for a major depressive episode, particularly of melancholic nature, where the patient

experiences psychotic symptoms such as delusions or, less commonly, hallucinations.

These are most commonly mood-congruent (content coincident with depressive


  • Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression, which has incidence rate of 10–

15%, typically sets in within three months of labour and lasts as long as three months.

It is quite common for women to experience a short term feeling of tiredness and

sadness in the first few weeks after giving birth; however, postpartum depression is

different because it can cause significant hardship and impaired functioning at home,

work, or school as well as possibly difficulty in relationships with family members,

spouses, friends, or even problems bonding with the newborn.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD),

The diagnosis is made

if at least two episodes have occurred in colder months with none at other times over

a two-year period or longer. It is commonly hypothesized that people who live at

higher latitudes tend to have less sunlight exposure in the winter and therefore

experience higher rates of SAD, but the epidemiological support for this proposition

is not strong (and latitude is not the only determinant of the amount of sunlight

reaching the eyes in winter). SAD is also more prevalent in people who are younger

and typically affects more females than males.

  • Causes of Major Depression

As far as etiology of major depressive disorder is concerned biological, psychological,

and social factors all play a role in causing depression. Several models and approaches

have been proposed by psychologists and psychiatrists to account for the causes of

depression. For example Diathesis Model stresses that that depression results when

a preexisting vulnerability, or diathesis, is activated by stressful life events

The understanding of depression has also received contributions from the

psychoanalytic and humanistic psychology.

  • Treatment

Various psychological treatments are available for depressive disorders. Some of

them are briefly listed below. In general, a combination of an antidepressant plus a

psychological treatment is better than either treatment alone. Typically, most

psychological treatments for depression last in the range of 12-20 weekly sessions

of 1-2 hours per session.

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