It is not unusual for us human beings to express emotions toward a certain event, a loss of a person or a thing. Having this in mind, what exactly is major depression? What borders between the normal sadness and the one considered as a mood disorder?
A major depression (also referred to as major depressive disorder – MDD, recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression or unipolar disorder) is a mental illness which can be distinguished by a profound sadness or low mood or a disinterest in avocation once found pleasurable. Patients with MDD are usually given an antidepressant like Zoloft that acts on chemicals in the brain. It is advisable not to mix it with other drugs as Zoloft can dangerously interact with alcohol and other substances.
Often we interchangeably use the term depression to MDD and lower mood problems which do not have clinical significance. MDD can be preoccupying affecting one’s health, family, work or studies, sleeping and eating habits, and lifestyle. A criteria has been made in order to diagnose depressive disorders on the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statisticla Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV-TR).
At least one of the 2 major symptoms need to be present to be diagnosed with MDD – depressed mood and anhedonia (or the inadequacy to show enjoyment to an activity that used to be enjoyable). These symptoms, however, need to be constant for at least a period of 2 weeks. Additionally, DSM-IV-TR does not include symptoms brought about bereavement though normal bereavement may likely progress to an MDD.
Moreover, many of these symptoms may be observed on a daily basis in a person with MDD:
- Diminished ability to concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Significant weight loss when not on a diet or weight gain, or a change in appetite
- Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation or a suicidal attempt
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness)
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
Mood disorders, which includes MDD, should not be taken for granted and should be consulted to a medical specialist. Additionally, self-medication of Zoloft is not recommended especially without the medical diagnosis of MDD. Adverse events may be unavoidable and Zoloft birth defects are likely to develop if you are pregnant or if you are planning to conceive a child.