The moment life is born, we experience many different types of emotions. It is only natural that at times we become sad. When sadness strikes three things happen, your heart is affected with a heavy feeling of some sort, your appetite changes and your memory improves by remember things or situations that made you happy. 

Since sadness and emotions are normal, what is the difference between being sad for a day and for an extended period? When someone we love is going through a tragic situation we can expect them to mourn for quite a while. When you wake up and get a ticket on your car, stuck in traffic, get stuck with that work project, bad events happen that can ruin your mood. 

For others, they experience sadness from triggers or chemical imbalances in the body and brain. For those who have a long-term struggle with depression, it is called major depressive disorder. To help someone who has MDD you have to know what it is, the symptoms to look for, what are the causes, and what treatments are recommended.  

What Is Major Depressive Disorder?

MDD is also known as clinical depression and is a medical condition that affects various areas of your life. Not only does it change your behaviors and mood, but it also attacks your physical state.  Surprisingly, major depress disorder is an illness that is the most common according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

With nearly 7% of Americans suffering from MDD, the tendency to lose intreats in activities you once enjoyed is common. People with MDD have suffered from this mental illness for a period of time. It is reported that if your loved one has this illness, episodes can go on for periods of times between a few weeks, months to even a year. 

What Are the Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder?

Major Depressive Disorder

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Seeking professional help is highly recommended if you think you are experiencing major depressive disorder. At the doctors' office, they will ask you a series of questions to see where you stand mentally, physically and emotionally. 

If you think you might have MDD, there are a few signs to look out for and seek a professional medical opinion. Here are some of the symptoms of MDD: 

  • The feeling of sadness and or irritableness for a majority of the day, or almost every day. 
  • Your interests in hobbies you used to enjoy are minimum to none. 
  • Sudden loss or gain of weight 
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Restless sleep, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep 
  • Cannot concentrate
  • Feeling worthless or heavy feeling of guilt 
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention. Unfortunately, up to 60% of suicides committed are done by people who suffer from MDD. Seek a professional opinion as soon as possible.

What Causes Major Depressive Disorder?

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There are no known reasons as to why a person can struggle with MDD. Unfortunately, it is a mental illness that has no source for finding out how or why it happens. Studies and doctors say that stress or genetic make-up are two major factors that can help create or increase MDD. Here are the major symptoms: 

  • Medical conditions such as cancer 
  • Some medications and steroids 
  • Abuse of alcohol and drugs 
  • Brain chemistry 
  • Biological and genetic traits
  • Hormones

Since the exact cause for major depress disorder cannot be determined, shares that a combination of genes and stress can have a major effect on brain chemistry.  

What Can One Do to Treat Major Depressive Disorder?

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Since MDD is a mental illness of sorts, there are ways to treat it. For you or someone that you might know who is battles this illness seeking a medical opinion can help you get better. When looking into the treatments of MDD you can use medications, therapy and make changed to your lifestyle.


In the ages of technology being on the rise, it is no wonder that the medical field is reaching new levels of success. Scientists are finding new ways to treat conditions that were not possible a decade ago, or even a year ago. When it comes to treating mental illnesses, there are plenty of medications that can help with it.

Your primary doctor will often start treatments by issuing our antidepressant medications. The antidepressants work with your body and brain to help produce more serotonin. Serotonin is a vital part in brain health. It is responsible for the regulation of moods, appetites and social behaviors. Low serotonin levels level you in high risk for depression.


Having someone who does not know you, who will not judge you and gives you a safe place to release your worries is great for everyone. Therapy is a great way to help figure out what is going on in your life, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a room to help you discover how to make your life better for the long hall. Here are a few reasons as to why therapy is a great release for those with MDD:

  • It is a great self-esteem booster
  • Help decrease the stress in your life
  • Targets the issues you did not know you had
  • Singles out triggers that cause depression or anger
  • Helps improve communication skills
  • Non-judgmental
  • Gives you a sense of control

Most of the reasoning behind becoming depressed is our lack of ability to communicate with others. Feeling trapped, alone and overwhelmed with shame are key feelings that trap those with depression. When isolated, the numbers of suicide rise. Therapy is a way to feel welcome and comfortable and gives you a person who truly cares about your wellbeing.

Change Your Way of Life

When taking the proper doctor prescribed medications and teaming that up with therapy the next active step is changing your way of life. Going to therapy and not applying what you have learned to improve your situation is not a good idea. Apply those changes and make changes to your physical activity, social life and eating habits.

  • Physical activities like starting a workout regimen is highly suggested for those battles depression and any other mental illness. When you work out or become active the brain releases good hormones into the body. Physical activities increase the pumping of blood which helps provide nourishment to the brain for healthy growth in brain cells.
  • Becoming social and getting out into the public forces you to get out of your shell. Depression usually isolates you and makes you think that no one wants to be around you. When you go outside and make friends or start up conversations you are satisfying part of the brains social awareness.  Having people respond back and communicate also boosts self-esteem.
  • Changing the way you eat is very important. The old saying, you are what you eat, is very true. When you eat a lot of processed foods, the body is breaking down and storing salt, bad fats and oils. Switching to a healthier lifestyle of fruits and vegetables fuel your body for movement instead of preparing it to be sluggish.

Physical activities, being social and changing what you put in your body are major self-improving factors that change improve your mental health. Now to the big question for those who have loved ones suffering from MDD.

How Do I Help Someone with Major Depressive Disorder?

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Dealing with someone who has MDD can be taxing on you also. No one wants to see someone they care about go through something so tumultuous. Good news is, there are ways to help. People who are depressed are also very sensitive, so the keys to being someone they can trust is to listen, talk and become active.


The key to listening is to be genuine with the action. You must listen to understand and not listen to respond. Most people choose to listen just, so they can pinpoint a problem and address it, that is the wrong way to go. When listening, be attentive and active. Be empathetic and aim to be a shoulder and not a doctor. Do not be a therapist and try to tell them what to do unless it is seeking help from a professional.


You want to create an atmosphere where they can be comfortable talking to you. When you give them a judgement free zone they are more than likely to take advantage of that offer. Share with them that you appreciate them coming to you and entrusting this to you. Encourage them to seek help. Reiterate that you love them, and you support them.


Not referring to lights, camera, action! Instead offer to help them seek help. Actions are everything to those with MDD. Helping them help themselves will show another level of caring. It allows them the opportunity to see that they are cared for, loved and important.

In conclusion, MDD is a serious mental illness that should be treated as soon as possible. With the self-help tips of changes in physical activity, lifestyle changes and social activity you can help take control of MDD.

When it comes to someone you love to be a listener, a talker and an advocate for them to get the help they need. If MDD is something that you think you or someone you know is struggling with, seek help from a professional as soon as possible.

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