Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a common and severe form of depression. It is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable. Here are some key features and diagnostic criteria for MDD:

  1. Depressed Mood: The individual experiences a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day. This can be observed by others or self-reported.

  2. Anhedonia: The person experiences a diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities they previously enjoyed.

  3. Weight/Appetite Changes: Significant weight loss or gain, or a decrease or increase in appetite. These changes may result in a 5% change in body weight within a month.

  4. Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) nearly every day.

  5. Psychomotor Changes: Observable agitation or restlessness, or psychomotor retardation (slowed movements and speech) as reported by others.

  6. Fatigue or Loss of Energy: Persistent feelings of fatigue, tiredness, or a lack of energy, even with minimal exertion.

  7. Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or self-blame, often unrelated to the person’s actual circumstances.

  8. Difficulty Concentrating: Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions.

  9. Suicidal Thoughts: Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts.

To be diagnosed with MDD, an individual must experience at least five of these symptoms, including either depressed mood or anhedonia, over a two-week period. These symptoms should cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

It’s important to note that the severity and duration of symptoms can vary among individuals with MDD. Treatment options for MDD include psychotherapy, medication (such as antidepressants), and in some cases, a combination of both. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of MDD, it is crucial to seek help from a mental health professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

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