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Behavioral Health

Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth

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Major Depressive Disorder 

Major depression is a serious medical illness involving physical symptoms, moods and thoughts. It is common, affecting one in ten adults each year. Fortunately, it is also very treatable, with success rates of 80% or better reported (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002).

Major depression is not like the "blues", ordinary sadness or even grief from the loss of a loved one. Major depression does not go away with a change in circumstances, good news or the passing of time.

Symptoms of Major Depression:
  • Deep feeling of sadness or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Decrease or increase in appetite resulting in weight loss/gain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of energy
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Lack of concentration; indecision
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If more than five of the above symptoms are present and have lasted for two weeks or more, you are encouraged to talk with your physician. A complete mental and physical examination is needed before a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is made by a physician or qualified mental health professional.

Depression Co-occurring with Mental Illness

Major depression is often present in persons with a medical disorder, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. Unfortunately, when depression co-occurs with other illnesses, it is often unrecognized and untreated. Research suggests that treatment of depression may improve the medical condition as well by enhancing a person's compliance with medical treatment and attitude toward self-care. An accurate diagnosis by your physician is important.