What is Depression and Major Depressive Disorder?

Though not an anxiety disorder, atypical depression can have associated anxiety symptoms. Also secondary depression including hopelessness, worthlessness, fatigue, lack of enjoyment in life can result from dealing with ongoing anxiety issues.

What are the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder?

  1. Depression is characterized by five or more of the following symptoms being present during the same 2-week period that represent a change from previous functioning. At least one of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.

    • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g. feeling sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others such as appearing tearful or “down in the dumps”.
    • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
    • Significant weight gain or weight loss when not dieting (5% or more change in body weight in a month) or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
    • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much) nearly every day.
    • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every (e.g. being restless or slowed down as observed by others)
    • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
    • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
    • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
    • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
  2. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.


What are the causes of Depression?

There is no one specific cause of Depression. However there are temperamental, environmental and genetic risk factors that are often associated with the onset of depression. A high level of neuroticism or negative emotional reaction make it more likely that an individual will develop a depressive episode in response to stressful life events. Adverse childhood experiences are also potent risk factors for major depressive disorder. Having any other major mental disorder increases the risk of an individual developing depression. Chronic or disabling medical conditions also increase risks for major depressive episodes.


How can you treat Depression?

Dr. Dufford and Anxiety Treatment Services provide integrative and comprehensive therapy for Depression including individual therapy, group support. Modalities include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, EMDR, Energy Psychology, and Meditation/Mindfulness.