Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder that is marked by a depressed mood, loss of interest in things that previously interested the person (including sex), and low self esteem. A person experiencing depression often feels perpetually sad or down and has very little energy to handle the demands of life. They may feel exhausted simply getting out of bed. Alternatively, they may feel agitated or irritable all the time. This is especially true in children and adolescents who are experiencing depression. In addition, people who experience depression seem to ruminate and become overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, irrational guilt, and a poor image of self. They also tend to have difficulty with concentration and memory. A person with major depression often withdraws from social activities and may experience intense thoughts about dying or suicide.
A person with depression may also experience periods of insomnia or hypersomnia. They may have difficulty eating or may experience either a weight gain or weight loss. They may also experience an increase in physical pain while they are depressed. In addition, a person with depression may experience significant impairment in their ability to function in social, occupational, or school environments. Left untreated, depression can affect every aspect of a person’s life.
Dysthymic Disorder is a less severe, but longer persisting form of depression. A person with dysthymia may have difficulty making decisions, problems concentrating, poor memory recall, guilt, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and pessimism. They may also have self-destructive thinking, feelings of sadness, apathy, hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, quick temper, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, a change in appetite, lack of sexual desire, self-neglect, fatigue, and insomnia.