Major depression, causes, symptoms and treatment

Major depression, causes, symptoms and treatment

Major depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger or frustration interfere with daily life for a period of a few weeks or more. It is characterized by the existence of a feeling of sadness intense enough to interfere with the development of habitual activities. There is also a reduction in interest or pleasure in activities that used to be liked by the affected person.

It can happen after the loss of a loved one or other painful event, although with respect to this it is disproportionate and of a duration longer than expected. There are different types of depression, now we will talk about major depression

Major depression

Major depression isa mood disorder characterized by the appearance of one or more depressive episodes At least two weeks long. It presents a set of symptoms of affective predominance (pathological sadness, apathy, anhedonia, hopelessness, decay, irritability, etc.). However, cognitive, volitional and somatic symptoms are also usually present during its course.


Major depression is a multifactorial phenomenon., so different factors could cause this psychopathology: genetic factors, childhood experiences and current psychosocial adversities (social context and personality aspects).


According to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.

Diagnostic Criteria Major Depressive Episode according to DSM-V

Five (or more) of the following symptoms during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous performance; At least one of the symptoms is:

  1. Depressive mood or loss of interest or pleasure.
  2. Depressive mood most of the day, almost every day, indicated by the subjective account or by observation of others.
  3. Marked decrease in interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities during most of the day, almost every day.
  4. Significant weight loss without dieting or significant increase, or decreased or increased appetite almost every day.
  5. Insomnia or hypersomnia almost every day.
  6. Psychomotor agitation or delay almost every day.
  7. Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day.
  8. Feelings of devaluation or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which can be delusional) almost every day (not just self-reproach or blame for being sick).
  9. Less ability to think or concentrate, or indecision almost every day (indicated by the subjective account or by observation of others).
  10. Recurring thoughts of death (not just fear of death), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan or a suicide attempt or a specific suicide plan.

Treatment for major depression

Today there is no standard way for all people to recover from depression, since it is different for everyone. However, there are several effective and professional health treatments that can help us on the road to recovery. To treat depression, a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants is usually recommended. pharmacotherapeutic.

Psychological treatment

The psychological treatments focus on changing thinking patterns and improving coping skills, so that the patient feels prepared to face the stress and conflicts of life. In addition to accompanying the recovery process, psychological therapies can also help maintain subsequent stability by identifying and changing ineffective thoughts and behaviors.


As for pharmacological treatments for depression, there are a lot of antidepressant medications that work. While there is no simple explanation on how they act, it is true that they can be very useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety disorders.

Sometimes it is advisable to prescribe antidepressant medications along with psychological treatments. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed when other treatments have not been successful or when psychological treatments are not possible due to the severity of the disease or lack of access to treatment.

People with more severe forms of depression (bipolar disorder and psychotic depression) generally need to be treated with psychoactive drugs. This may include one or a combination of mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications and antidepressants.