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Major depressive episode

Major depressive episode

A major depressive episode is a period characterized by the symptoms of major depressive disorder: primarily severely depressed mood and a loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities, accompanied by other symptoms such as feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, anxiety, worthlessness, guilt and/or irritability, changes in appetite, problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, and thoughts of or attempts at suicide. 

Significant emotional pain and economic costs are associated with depression. Treatments for a major depressive episode include exercise, psychotherapy and antidepressants, although in more serious cases, hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment may be required.  There are many theories as to how depression occurs. One interpretation is that neurotransmitters in the brain are out of balance, and this results in feelings of worthlessness and despair. Magnetic resonance imaging shows that brains of people who have depression look different than the brains of people not exhibiting signs of depression. A family history of depression increases the chance of being diagnosed.

A diagnosis of major depressive episode requires that the patient has—over a two-week period—experienced five or more of the symptoms like  Mood, anhedonia and loss of interest,  Change in eating, appetite, or weight, Sleep, Motor activity,  Fatigue and concentration ,  Thoughts of death and suicide. 


Depression is a treatable illness. Treatments for a major depressive episode may be obtained in one or more of the following settings: mental health specialists (i.e. psychologist, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, etc.), mental health centers or organizations, hospitals, outpatient clinics, social service agencies, private clinics, peer support groups, clergy, and employee assistance programs. The treatment plan could include psychotherapy alone, antidepressant medications alone, or a combination of medication and psychotherapy.




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