Major depressive episode
Overview
A major depressive episode is the cluster of symptoms of major depressive disorder. The description has been formalised in psychiatric diagnostic criteria such as the DSM-IV and ICD-10
ICD-10
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision is a medical classification list for the coding of diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases, as maintained by the...

, and is characterized by severe, highly persistent depression, and a loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities, which is often manifested by lack of appetite, chronic fatigue
Fatigue (physical)
Fatigue is a state of awareness describing a range of afflictions, usually associated with physical and/or mental weakness, though varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within one's muscles...

, and sleep disturbances (somnipathy)
Sleep disorder
A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning...

. The individual may think about suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

, and indeed an increased risk of actual suicide is present.

In addition to the emotional pain endured by those suffering from depression, significant economic costs are associated with depression.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A major depressive episode is the cluster of symptoms of major depressive disorder. The description has been formalised in psychiatric diagnostic criteria such as the DSM-IV and ICD-10
ICD-10
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision is a medical classification list for the coding of diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases, as maintained by the...

, and is characterized by severe, highly persistent depression, and a loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities, which is often manifested by lack of appetite, chronic fatigue
Fatigue (physical)
Fatigue is a state of awareness describing a range of afflictions, usually associated with physical and/or mental weakness, though varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within one's muscles...

, and sleep disturbances (somnipathy)
Sleep disorder
A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning...

. The individual may think about suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

, and indeed an increased risk of actual suicide is present.

In addition to the emotional pain endured by those suffering from depression, significant economic costs are associated with depression. In fact, American and Canadian studies have indicated that the costs associated with depression are greater than those associated with hypertension
Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...

, and equal to those of heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, diabetes, and back problems.

Criteria

The criteria below are based on the formal DSM-IV criteria for a Major Depressive Episode. A diagnoses of major depressive episode requires that the patient has—over a two-week period—experienced five or more of the symptoms below, and these must be outside the patient's normal behaviour. Either depressed mood or decreased interest or pleasure must be one of the five (although both are frequently concomitant).

Mood

  • For the better part of nearly every day, the patient reports a depressed mood
    Depression (mood)
    Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

     or appears depressed to others.
    • The patient may state that he or she has been feeling sad, depressed, blue, empty, "down in the dumps," hopeless, etc. If the patient is in denial about these feelings, yet appears to be on the verge of tearfulness, manifests a depressed facial expression and disposition, or appears to be overly irritable, these may also indicate the presence of depressed mood. Some people may report physical complaints (i.e., aches, pains, headaches) rather than depressed mood, and physical symptoms without physical cause are sometimes indicators of depression. (See Myalgia
      Myalgia
      Myalgia means "muscle pain" and is a symptom of many diseases and disorders. The most common causes are the overuse or over-stretching of a muscle or group of muscles. Myalgia without a traumatic history is often due to viral infections...

       and Neuralgia
      Neuralgia
      Neuralgia is pain in one or more nerves that occurs without stimulation of pain receptor cells. Neuralgia pain is produced by a change in neurological structure or function rather than by the excitation of pain receptors that causes nociceptive pain. Neuralgia falls into two categories: central...

      .)

Anhedonia and loss of interest

  • For most of nearly every day, interest or pleasure
    Pleasure
    Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria...

     is markedly decreased in nearly all activities (noted by the patient or by others). (See Anhedonia
    Anhedonia
    In psychology and psychiatry, anhedonia is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. hobbies, exercise, social interaction or sexual activity....

    )
    • People suffering with depression tend to lose interest in things they once found enjoyable. Activities are no longer enjoyable and there is often a loss of interest in or desire for sex. People who are depressed may say, "I just don't care anymore," or "nothing matters anymore." Friends and family of the depressed person may notice that he/she has withdrawn from friends, or has neglected or quit doing activities that were once a source of enjoyment.

Change in eating, appetite, or weight

  • Although not dieting, there is a marked loss or gain of weight (such as 5% in one month) or appetite
    Appetite
    The appetite is the desire to eat food, felt as hunger. Appetite exists in all higher life-forms, and serves to regulate adequate energy intake to maintain metabolic needs. It is regulated by a close interplay between the digestive tract, adipose tissue and the brain. Decreased desire to eat is...

     is markedly decreased or increased nearly every day.
  • Changes in appetite take on two manifestations: under- or over-eating.
    • In the first instance, some people never feel hungry, can go long periods without wanting to eat, may forget to eat, or if they do eat a small amount of food may be sufficient. A reduction in weight is often associated with a melancholic
      Melancholic depression
      Melancholic depression, or 'depression with melancholic features' is a subtype of major depression characterized by major depressive disorder with the following specific features: anhedonia , severe weight loss, psychomotor agitation or retardation, insomnia with early morning awakenings, guilt...

       type of depression.
    • In the second instance, some people tend toward an increase in appetite and may gain significant amounts of weight. They may tend to crave certain types of food such as sweets or carbohydrates. People with seasonal affective disorder
      Seasonal affective disorder
      Seasonal affective disorder , also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summer blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn...

       (SAD) often crave foods high in carbohydrates. Weight gain is often associated with atypical depression
      Atypical depression
      Atypical depression is a subtype of dysthymia and major depression, sharing many of the symptoms of both, but also being characterized by mood reactivity—being able to experience improved mood in response to positive events. In contrast, sufferers of "melancholic" depression generally cannot...

      .

Sleep

  • Nearly every day the patient sleeps excessively, known as hypersomnia
    Hypersomnia
    Hypersomnia is a disorder characterized by excessive amounts of sleepiness.There are two main categories of hypersomnia: primary hypersomnia and recurrent hypersomnia...

    , or not enough, known as insomnia
    Insomnia
    Insomnia is most often defined by an individual's report of sleeping difficulties. While the term is sometimes used in sleep literature to describe a disorder demonstrated by polysomnographic evidence of disturbed sleep, insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either of two questions:...

    .
    • Insomnia is the most common type of sleep disturbance for people who are clinically depressed. Waking in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep is known as "middle insomnia"; waking too early as "terminal insomnia", and; having difficulty falling asleep at night is "initial" insomnia. Insomnia is often associated with a melancholic type of depression.
    • A less frequent sleeping problem is oversleeping (called "hypersomnia"). This may occur in the form of sleeping for prolonged periods at night or increased sleeping during the daytime. Even with excess sleep, a person may still feel tired and sluggish during the day. People with seasonal affective disorder
      Seasonal affective disorder
      Seasonal affective disorder , also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summer blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn...

       (SAD) may sleep longer during the winter months. Hypersomnia is often associated with an atypical depression
      Atypical depression
      Atypical depression is a subtype of dysthymia and major depression, sharing many of the symptoms of both, but also being characterized by mood reactivity—being able to experience improved mood in response to positive events. In contrast, sufferers of "melancholic" depression generally cannot...

      .

Motor activity

  • Nearly every day others can see that the patient's activity is agitated or slow.
    • People suffering from depression may be either quite agitated (psychomotor agitation
      Psychomotor agitation
      Psychomotor agitation is a series of unintentional and purposeless motions that stem from mental tension and anxiety of an individual. This includes pacing around a room, wringing one's hands, pulling off clothing and putting it back on and other similar actions...

      ), or very lethargic (psychomotor retardation
      Psychomotor retardation
      Psychomotor retardation involves a slowing-down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in an individual. Psychomotor retardation can cause a visible slowing of physical and emotional reactions, including speech and affect...

      ) in their mannerisms and behavior. If a person is agitated, he or she may find it difficult to sit still, may pace the room, wring his/her hands, or fidget with clothes or objects. Someone with psychomotor retardation tend to move sluggishly, may move across a room very slowly, avert his/her eyes, sit slumped in a chair and speak slowly, saying little.
    • In terms of diagnosis, the agitation or slowing down of one's demeanor must be to the degree that it can be observed by others.

Fatigue

  • Nearly every day the person experiences extreme fatigue
    Fatigue (physical)
    Fatigue is a state of awareness describing a range of afflictions, usually associated with physical and/or mental weakness, though varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within one's muscles...

    .
    • A decrease in energy and feeling fatigued are very common symptoms for those who are clinically depressed. A person may feel tired without having engaged in any physical activity, and day-to-day tasks become difficult, including getting washed and dressed in the morning. Job tasks or housework become very tiring, and the person finds that his/her work at home, school, or on the job suffers.

Self-worth

  • Nearly every day the patient feels worthless or inappropriately guilty. These feelings are not just about being depressed, they may be delusional.
    • Depressed people may think of themselves in very negative, unrealistic ways such as manifesting a preoccupation with past "failures", personalisation of trivial events, or believing that minor mistakes prove their inadequacy. They also may have an unrealistic sense of personal responsibility and see things beyond their control as being their fault. Additionally, self-loathing is common in clinical depression, and can lead to a downward spiral when combined with other symptoms.

Concentration

  • Noted by the patient or by others, nearly every day the patient is indecisive or has trouble thinking or concentrating.
    • A person with depression frequently experiences negative and pessimistic thoughts, and reports that his/her ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions becomes impaired. Memory and distraction problems are common. This problem can be notably pronounced, causing significant difficulty in functioning for those involved in intellectually demanding activities.

Thoughts of death

  • The patient has had repeated thoughts about death (other than the fear of dying), suicide (with or without a plan) or has made a suicide attempt.
    • The frequency and intensity of thoughts about suicide can range from believing that friends and family would be better off if one were dead, to frequent thoughts about committing suicide (generally related to wishing to stop the emotional pain), to detailed plans about how the suicide would be carried out. Less severely suicidal people may have regular thoughts of suicide, while those who are more severely suicidal may have made specific plans and decided upon a day and location for the suicide attempt.
      • Thoughts of suicide
        Suicidal ideation
        Suicidal ideation is a common medical term for thoughts about suicide, which may be as detailed as a formulated plan, without the suicidal act itself. Although most people who undergo suicidal ideation do not commit suicide, some go on to make suicide attempts...

         occur mostly when triggered. Thoughts of suicide happen more frequently than normal.

Diagnostic caveats

In diagnosing the symptoms a trained therapist must take the following into account:
  • These symptoms must cause clinically important distress, or impair work, social or personal functioning, and they should not fulfil the criteria for Mixed Episode
    Mixed state (psychiatry)
    In the context of mental disorder, a mixed state is a condition during which symptoms of mania and depression occur simultaneously...

    .
  • The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., abuse of a drug or medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism
    Hypothyroidism
    Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide but it can be caused by other causes such as several conditions of the thyroid gland or, less commonly, the pituitary gland or...

    ).
  • Other than in the case of severe symptoms (severely impaired functioning, severe preoccupation with worthlessness, ideas of suicide, delusions or hallucinations or psychomotor retardation), the episode should not have begun within two months of the loss of a loved one. (See Bereavement.)

Treatment

If left untreated, a typical major depressive episode may last for about six months, while about 20% of these episodes can last two years or more, with 50% of depressive episodes ending spontaneously
Spontaneous remission
Spontaneous healing, also called spontaneous remission or spontaneous regression, means an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease which usually is taking a different course. Both terms are mainly used for unexpected transient or final improvements in cancer. Spontaneous remissions concern...

. However, even after the major depressive episode is over, 20% to 30% of patients have residual symptoms, which can be distressing and associated with disability
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

.

Regarding the treatment of major depressive episodes of severe intensity (multiple symptoms, minimal mood reactivity, severe functional impairment), combined psychotherapy plus antidepressant medications are more effective than psychotherapy alone.

Demographics

Estimates of the numbers of people suffering from major depressive episodes and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) vary significantly. Between 10% and 25% of women, and between 5% and 12% of men will suffer a major depressive episode.

Fewer people, between 5% and 9% of women and between 2% and 3% of men, will have MDD, or full-blown depression. Depression occurs nearly twice as often in adolescent and adult females as in males, and the peak period of development is between the ages of 25 and 44 years.

Onset of major depressive episodes or MDD often occurs to people in their mid-20s, and less often to those over 65. Prepubescent girls and boys are affected equally. Additionally, socio-economic
Socioeconomics
Socioeconomics or socio-economics or social economics is an umbrella term with different usages. 'Social economics' may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society." More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social...

 or environmental factor
Environmental factor
Environmental factor or ecological factor or ecofactor is any factor, abiotic or biotic, that influences living organisms.- Environmental factors inducing diseases :...

s do not appear to have any bearing on the incidence of a major depressive episode or MDD.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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