LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:
Major Depressive Disorder is an episodic illness defined by feelings of intense sadness, misery, and/or hopelessness. Depression can include feelings of numbness, discontent, pessimism, and indifference to the world, as well as pervasive shame, guilt, worthlessness, and suicidal plans or attempts. Symptoms must present for a minimum of two weeks to confirm a diagnosis, but most bouts last far longer.
Also known as major or clinical depression, MDD is the depressed mood we most readily recognize. It’s stamped on a sad face, drawn in dark circles under sleepless eyes, and startling in dramatic weight gains or losses. It steals joy, desire, energy and self-confidence from those in its grip. Moreover, it thwarts their ability to cope with life and to make plans.
Sometimes a major depressive episode is a once-in-a-lifetime event. For the majority of cases, though, one episode is just the first.