Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder.

Section I) Cover Page

Suffolk County Community College

Research Paper

Research paper on Major Depressive Disorder:

A review of its symptoms, prevalence, causes and treatment

Paola Rodriguez

Psychology 101, Section 300

Dr. Anthony Napoli

Spring 2018 Semester

Section II) Introduction

There are many people who open their eyes to the sunrise and have no aspiration to get up. Contemplating the day that they will have with dissatisfaction, hopelessness, and powerlessness. According to Jeffrey S. Nevid (2012), people who suffer from Major depressive disorder (MDD), or major depression, typically experience all of these feelings, along with possible alterations in sleep and appetite. Major depression is one of the major forms of mood disorder. I will be providing a more in-depth description of the disorder, followed by the symptoms, prevalence of MDD in the US, the causes of it, possible treatments, and a long-term prognosis for major depression.

Section III) A description, symptoms, epidemiology, and prevalence

Nevid states major depression as the most common type of depressive disorder. He says it is considered by periods of downcast mood, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of interest in enjoyable activities (2012). Not all depression levels are the identical. MDD can be anywhere from mild to severe. Numerous psychological, social and biological factors, such as genetic disposition and life stressors, contribute to the onset of major depression (Jaffe).

In order for a person to be diagnosed with major depression they must display several symptoms over a time period of two weeks. The signs include: depressed mood most of the day, every day; anhedonia, loss of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities; unpremeditated change in body weight or loss of appetite throughout the day; hypersomnia or insomnia; fatigue; feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt; agitation observed by others; and thoughts of suicide and death (Jaffe). The symptoms must have appeared naturally in a person, not as a result consuming some

substance. Nevid (2012) also mentions how MDD can occur in outbreaks of different lengths. Some can last months while others can be as long or even longer than a year.

Nevid (2012) states that one in five U.S. adults suffer from depression at some point in their lives and about one in twelve adults are currently experiencing MDD. The lifetime risk for MDD in the United States is 20% in women and 12% in men, while the prevalence of current MDD is 3.4% in the general population. Rates of MDD are highest in individuals aged 25–44 years. The lifetime risk of suicide in patients with untreated MDD is nearly 20%; MDD plays a role in more than half of attempted suicides. With appropriate treatment, 70–80% of patients with MDD achieve significant reductions in symptoms even though that up to 50% of patients fail to respond to initial therapy. Left untreated, 20% of patients continue to meet the diagnostic criteria for MDD at 1 year, while 40% achieve partial remission. Many times, major depression is viewed by society as a sign of someone being weak or even dramatic, causing an interference in the amount of people who feel comfortable opening up about their condition (Jaffe).

Section IV) Causes of the disorder

Nevid (2012) discusses various ideas as to what the cause of MDD is. It is believed that there are both psychological and biological causes. According to the behavioral model, the cause of depression is the loss of reinforcement, especially reinforcement once received from others in the way of attention, approval, and emotional support. Another cause for MDD Nevid (2012) mentions, is the belief of cognitive theorists that the way people interpret events in the lives contribute to the development of emotional disorders. They believe that having a negatively biased way of thinking makes a person more susceptible to major depression. Another model mentioned by Nevid is the learned helplessness model. This is the view that depression results from the perception of a lack of control over the reinforcements in one’s life that may result from exposure to uncontrollable negative events. Nevid (2012) of course couldn’t leave out stress. Life stress like the loss of a loved one, unemployment, and physical illness are examples of situations that could cause MDD.

Major depression does not all come from psychological factors. Alongside these psychological factors, Nevid (2012) mentions the biological factors that come into play when explaining the causes of MDD. Depression has been connected to irregularities in the working of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This however, is not the only cause of depression in a person. Genetic factors take part as well. Researchers are discovering links between genes and mood disorders.

Section V) Psychological and Medical Treatment

The way to begin treatment is by getting someone to a place where they can get help. A person must get diagnosed and evaluated to determine the level of depression they are at and the course of care that they will need. Patients must be monitored and provided with a safe environment (Jaffe). There are several antidepressant medications that can be provided to help. First-line antidepressant medications such as, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors noradrenaline; and dopamine reuptake inhibitors. Second-line medications, include tricyclic antidepressants, which are used less often due to side effects of intolerable dry mouth and dizziness; and QUEtiapine, an antipsychotic, although there are concerns about the long-term safety of this medication; recent findings show effectiveness within 1 week of initiation of monotherapy (Jaffe).

Aside from the medicine, a person diagnosed with MDD should receive psychological treatment as well. The anxiety level and coping ability of patient and family should be assessed, along with providing emotional support and promoting a positive self-image for patients who have experienced a dramatic change in lifestyle due to their MDD (Jaffe). Another psychological treatment is educating and encouraging discussion regarding major depression. Also Educating regarding the importance of organizing diversions from self-absorption and establishing a structured routine with activities planned during periods of higher energy (Jaffe). If needed, the patient should remain close to doctor or social worker in the area.

Section VI) Long term prognosis

MDD is not exactly labeled for one age group. According to Maurizo Fava and Kenneth Kendler (2001), A substantial proportion of patients experience their first episodes of MDD during childhood and adolescence. For most people, MDD is a life-long episodic disorder with multiple recurrences (averaging one episode in every 5-year period), with approximately 20%–25% of major depressive disorder patients experiencing a chronic, unremitting course.

Section VII) References

Nevid, Jeffrey S. Essentials Of Psychology: Concepts And Applications. Belmont, CA : Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

Jaffe, SE, RN, PhD, ARNP and MN, RN, BSN, OCN Holle. “Depression: Major Depressive Disorder.” CINAHL Nursing Guide, 02 June 2017. EBSCOhost,

Fava, Maurizo, and Kenneth Kendler. “Major Depressive Disorder.” Neuron, Cell Press, 11 Apr. 2001,

Major Depressive Disorder

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What depressive disorder diagnosis would you consider giving to Christina?

What depressive disorder diagnosis would you consider giving to Christina?.

Read the following vignette:

Christina is a 25-year-old Mexican American woman who has been working as an elementary school teacher since she graduated from college three years ago. Although she does well at her job, she has been feeling low ever since she left college. When she took this teaching position, she had to relocate to a city over four hours away from her family and the house she grew up in. Even though she has made some new friends, Christina still feels disconnected and lonely. She is also concerned about her mother, who has been diagnosed with a serious health condition.

For the past month, Christina has felt much worse. She reports feeling very sad and tired most of the time and is having difficulty concentrating at work. She says that she does not have enough energy to accomplish the things she would like to do. She admits to overeating and drinking every evening to “unwind” after school, and is concerned she is sleeping too much on the weekends. She also has very low self-esteem, despite being well-liked at her school and receiving good performance evaluations.

Christina describes her life as “heading nowhere” and says that lately she has felt extremely hopeless. She wonders if she will ever feel as happy as she did when she was in college. She does not have a history of ever feeling worse than this, and is in good health.

Based on the information presented, address the following questions in your discussion post:

  1. What depressive disorder diagnosis would you consider giving to Christina? Describe the process you used for making this decision.
  2. Knowing that substance use disorders can mimic and co-exist with other disorders, and that depressive disorders frequently co-occur with other disorders, including anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, and eating disorders, what other information would you gather, or what other assessment instruments might you use, to help you make an accurate diagnosis for Christina? (Remember to refer back to the assessment information you read in Chapter 3 of theAbnormal Psychology text.)
  3. What V and Z codes would you consider for Christina? How would including these systemic considerations help you in understanding Christina’s presenting symptoms and thinking about your treatment approach?
  4. What social, cultural, and systemic factors would be important for you to consider when assessing and diagnosing Christina? How is the separation from her mother, family, and home impacting her? What multigenerational issues might be affecting Christina at this time?

What depressive disorder diagnosis would you consider giving to Christina?

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