12 Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder


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It’s normal to feel down sometimes. If you didn’t receive a promotion that you were hoping for or you had an argument with your significant other, it’s natural to feel sad for a while. But temporary negative emotions are different from major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder goes beyond just feeling sad. 

We’ll talk about how major depressive disorder affects your quality of life and major depressive disorder symptoms to be aware of. We’ll also discuss the signs that someone with MDD is experiencing a relapse of their symptoms. 

How major depressive disorder affects your everyday life

Major depressive disorder, often referred to as depression, is a mood disorder that affects approximately 8.4% of adults in the U.S., which adds up to more than 21 million people. It causes overwhelming negative thoughts and emotions.

The persistent sadness and negative thought patterns that come from major depressive disorder can interfere with every facet of your life. It can impact everything from your productivity to your self-image.

Major depressive disorder can affect your quality of life by making it difficult to:

  • Complete your daily tasks, such as work responsibilities, household chores and errands
  • Maintain healthy relationships with your family, friends and significant others
  • Develop a strong sense of self
  • Set goals for your future

12 symptoms of major depressive disorder

Even though major depressive disorder is often characterized solely by persistent sadness, it can manifest in a variety of different ways. Depression isn’t always obvious; the symptoms can range in severity from person to person, which makes it easier for them to be hidden or brushed off.

Here are 12 symptoms of major depressive disorder to be aware of:

  1. Fatigue or loss of energy
  2. Lack of energy or motivation
  3. Feeling hopeless or worthless
  4. Low self-confidence or lack of self-esteem
  5. Pessimism about the future
  6. Lack of enjoyment from activities that once brought joy
  7. Wanting to withdraw from others or self-isolate
  8. Heightened irritability or agitation
  9. Changes in appetite or weight 
  10. Thoughts of death or suicide
  11. Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
  12. Sleep disturbances (insomnia or sleeping too much)

5 signs that you’re experiencing an MDD relapse

Major depressive disorder can change and evolve throughout your life. While some people experience MDD symptoms temporarily after significant life changes or situations, others will experience it on and off throughout their lifetime.

With treatment and support, people can recover from MDD. That said, the duration of recovery can vary. MDD tends to be episodic, which means that depression can come back periodically in the form of distinct periods or “episodes.”

These episodes or MDD relapses can occur for a variety of reasons, including exposure to stressors or discontinuation of treatment. During MDD relapses, depression symptoms that were previously well managed return and sometimes intensify.

Here are five symptoms of an MDD relapse to look for:

  1. You’re struggling to find pleasure in activities that you would otherwise enjoy, such as a hobby.
  2. You’re sleeping more than usual, or you’re overwhelmingly fatigued throughout the day.
  3. You’re uninterested in setting goals for the future because you’re pessimistic or you don’t believe in your own abilities.
  4. You’re struggling with hygiene or self-care due to low energy and feelings of worthlessness.
  5. You’re feeling more agitated than usual, causing you to become irritated or impatient with people around you.

Find help for depression at Lightfully Behavioral Health

Whether your experience with depression is recurrent or you’re struggling to manage symptoms for the first time, you are worthy of all the support and compassion you need to heal and recover.

At Lightfully, MDD treatment is designed to help alleviate your symptoms and make sustainable changes that improve your quality of life. Our team will help you gain skills and resilience you need to cope with challenges and reduce the frequency and severity of depressive episodes in the future. We use process-based therapy, or PBT, to treat you as a whole person, not your major depressive disorder diagnosis.

The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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