Major depressive disorder is an incapacitating disease described by diminished interests, depressed mood, vegetative symptoms, and impaired cognitive function such as appetite and disturbed sleep (Otte et al., 2016). The major depressive disorder occurs more often in women as compared to men. Major depressive disorder can be recurrent or lasting, substantially affecting an individual’s ability to function at school, work, or cope with daily life. Therefore depending on the severity of the signs and symptoms of the major depressive disorder can be classified as moderate, mild, or severe. This paper intends to discuss Major depressive disorder as a mental health diagnosis and present a case that will describe an individual that meets the criteria of major depressive disorder. The paper will also offer suggestions for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder can lead to persistent loss of interest and feelings of sadness that can interfere with an individual’s daily functioning.
Major Depressive Disorder
Ideally, MDD has been considered a severe medical condition that can affect behavior, moods, and physical functions (Otte et al., 2016). Healthcare providers and social workers can make major depressive disorder diagnosis based on feelings, symptoms, and behaviors. To diagnose a client with MDD, they need to ensure that they meet the symptom criteria that has been listed by DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). According to the DSM criteria, a client diagnosed with MDD has experienced changes in their normal functioning (Fekadu, Shibeshi & Engidawork, 2017). Symptoms must occur for more than two weeks, with at least one symptom of either loss of interest, pleasure, or depressed mood. The client is also expected to have experienced the following feelings for two weeks. Feelings of sadness most of the day and almost daily, feeling less interested in most activities they used to enjoy before, unexpected gain or loss of weight and appetite shifts, challenge falling asleep or sleeping more, feeling unusually tired and lacking energy, difficulty in making decisions, thinking and concentrating, feeling worthless and thinking about suicide or harming oneself (Zuckerman et al., 2018).
Considerably, the exact factors that cause MDD are unknown, but various factors can lead to the risk of developing major depressive disorder. These include a combination of stress and genes that can affect brain functioning and lower the ability of an individual to maintain mood stability. The shift in the balance of hormones has also been considered in the development of MDD. MDD may also be triggered by drug and alcohol use, certain types of medications such as steroids, and childhood abuse.
Olive, a 25-year-old Caucasian female, was presented in the mental health clinic with suspicion of mental health issues. She stated that she experienced daily crying spells, had trouble sleeping at night, had feelings of sadness all the time, and was overeating. She stated that her sleeping was being disturbed, which took her several hours before she fell asleep, while some nights, she never caught sleep at all. She spent most of part of the day thinking and worrying. Olive said that she found herself worrying about her relationship with family members and felt like she was a problem with her parents. She said that her depression worsened after the first birth without having being married.
Olive claimed that she became depressed after realizing she was pregnant and that the depression worsened after birth. During the first months of the pregnancy, she felt that her life had lost control, which led to sadness, being tired, and crying several times. She was constantly worrying and thinking about how people thought about him and felt like everyone concentrated on her life. She said that her feelings affected her socially since she always felt staying alone and avoided taking part in family events. She expressed unhappiness since she felt that she is not the person she always wanted to be. All these symptoms and signs meet the diagnosis criteria of major depressive disorder. The diagnosis was made since the client had demonstrated various symptoms linked to MDD for several months that increasingly impacted her daily functioning.
Treatment of major depressive disorder primarily consists of pharmacological and psychotherapy treatment. Various studies have indicated that initiating treatment with both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy has offered significant outcomes compared to using either of them alone. Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the most effective psychotherapy treatments. Ideally, cognitive behavior therapy educates the patients on recognizing distorted thinking patterns and offers skills to challenge the negative thoughts by replacing them with more accurate and positive thoughts (Craighead, Johnson, Carey & Dunlop, 2015). For instance, the client is taught how to increase the positive activities and behaviors confronting the avoidance processes. Pharmacological treatment entails approaches that involve high-dose drugs, such as an antidepressant drug in case of partial or non-response. For instance, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are believed to be effective in improving mood and sleeping patterns.
As a social worker, I would focus on Christian beliefs that God would strengthen Olive and restore her well-being. Through the conversation, I would apply the principle of steadfastness which would play an essential role in improving her moods and emotions. Proverbs 23:7 states that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Olive would learn the significance of changing her mindset and thoughts. Relatively, as Isaiah 40:31 says, God will renew her strength and that they shall not be faint or wear. I would focus on understanding Olive and being empathetic to relate to what is going on and offer solutions.
Depressed moods and feelings of sadness are a natural part of human encounters. Typically, these feelings are short-lived, but when some experience intense feelings of unhappiness for a lengthy period, they end up with a mood disorder like major depressive disorder (MDD). Clients that meet the DSM criteria of major depressive disorder require treatment to improve their conditions. Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are effective interventions for MDD clients. Social workers also need to integrate Christian perspectives into mental health diagnosis and treatment to increase psychological and spiritual wholeness.
Craighead, W. E., Johnson, B. N., Carey, S., & Dunlop, B. W. (2015). Psychosocial treatments for major depressive disorder.
Fekadu, N., Shibeshi, W., & Engidawork, E. (2017). Major depressive disorder: pathophysiology and clinical management. J Depress Anxiety, 6(1), 255-257.
Otte, C., Gold, S. M., Penninx, B. W., Pariante, C. M., Etkin, A., Fava, M., … & Schatzberg, A. F. (2016). Major depressive disorder. Nature reviews Disease primers, 2(1), 1-20.
Zuckerman, H., Pan, Z., Park, C., Brietzke, E., Musial, N., Shariq, A. S., … & McIntyre, R. S. (2018). Recognition and treatment of cognitive dysfunction in major depressive disorder. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 655.