Definition of Major Depressive Disorder

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Major depressive disorder is defined as being an exaggerated depression that inhibits an individual's motivation or ability to function in day-to-day life. Compare major depressive disorder to normal depression with information from a licensed mental health counselor in this free video on mental health conditions.

Part of the Video Series: Mental Health & Behavior
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Video Transcript

I'm Dr. David Thomas. I'm a practicing psychotherapist in Tampa, Florida with the Whitford Thomas Group speaking to you today about the definition of Major Depressive Disorder. When we talk about Major Depressive Disorder it is what we consider an exaggerated depression. The difference between a Major Depressive Disorder and let's say a Dysthymia or a normal depression would be that it tends to be shorter in duration so the onset of the symptoms, usually within two weeks of something occurring and then it lasts up to about six months. Major Depressive Disorder tends to have all the symptoms of any other depression although with Major Depressive Disorder what often times occurs is the person has the inability or difficulty in doing normal activities. So individuals who are experiencing Major Depressive Disorder tend to kind of do away with going to work, socializing with friends, paying bills, interacting with loved ones and that's probably the primary difference between a depression and a Major Depression or Major Depressive Disorder is that often times with depressions people still function, they still go to work, they still interact. They're just their mood is significantly affected but with Major Depressive Disorder you have those same symptoms but the person finds it very difficult to actually continue on with normal life activities. Major Depressive Disorder often times requires medication to rid yourself of the disorder but you still have the counseling that is still an important piece of that because with all depression be it major or otherwise there is a thinking component so we certainly want to look at changing our thinking in order to rid ourselves and to minimize the depression but often times medication is important. I'm Dr. David Thomas speaking to you today about Major Depressive Disorder.

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