Major Depressive Disorder

1989 WordsFeb 26, 20188 Pages
Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders, with a 12-month prevalence of 6.7% of adults in the United States (NIMH). There is no definite etiology of depression, but several risk factors have been identified. Functional and structural changes in the brain have also been explored. The most common treatment for depression is the use of drugs that act on monoamine transmitters, including norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Decreases in these transmitters, especially serotonin, were hypothesized to play an important role in the cause of depression (Breedlove & Watson, 2013). The serotonin hypothesis led to the development of selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. Further research suggests that the serotonin hypothesis is not entirely accurate and the neurobiology of depression is much more complex. The “chemical imbalance” explanation of depression may not reflect the full range of causes and may be given greater credibility by patients and doctors than is supported by evidence based research. Depression is characterized by depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, changes in weight or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, or recurrent thoughts of death. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder requires the presence of five or more symptoms during the same two-week period and
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