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In this blog, we will discuss Major depressive disorder treatments. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) can be both underdiagnosed and over-diagnosed. People often do not realize that MDD is a subtype of depression, just because someone has depression, does not mean that they meet the criteria for MDD or clinical depression.

MDD is a specific subtype of depression that represents a more severe and persistent form of the condition. Some of the main differences between MDD and depression include the severity and duration, symptom clusters (i.e., the set of diagnostic criteria that must be met), recurrent episodes of major depression, and MDD requiring a clinical diagnosis.

MDD is a common and serious mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It is a prolonged and intense form of depression that causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. These characteristics include feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, fluctuations of mood, weight gain or loss, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or lack of energy, sleep disturbances, etc. MDD is often triggered by stressful life events and its causes can be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.


Major depressive disorder treatments include a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and support from healthcare professionals. However, in recent years the use of technology and brain stimulation has become more recognized in the treatment plan for MDD. MeRT (Magnetic eResonance Therapy) is a form of brain stimulation that helps the parts of the brain that are not communicating as they should. A brain that is functioning optimally can lead to dramatic improvements and learning in all the traditional forms of therapy for MDD. Research articles on MeRT and depression can be found here.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a fundamental treatment for MDD. Different types of therapy considered include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and psychodynamic therapy. Utilizing these therapies helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, improve problem-solving skills, and address underlying emotional issues.

Medication

Antidepressants are the most used medications to help treat symptoms of MDD. Antidepressant medications have different classes such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants. The medication and its dosage vary from individual depending on symptoms and the patient’s response to the antidepressant. Taking medication helps to balance certain chemicals in the brain that are associated with mood regulation.

Social Support

Having a strong support system is crucial for individuals with MDD. This support system should include a healthcare professional, family, and friends, and joining a support group or participating in group therapy. Having this support system may help the individuals feel less alone and connecting with others who have experienced similar struggles helps build encouragement, validation, and shared coping strategies.

Brain Stimulation

Utilizing brain stimulation technology such as TMS or MeRT, especially in scenarios where medication or
psychotherapy have been ineffective or partially effective, can help to treat symptoms of MDD. Both TMS
and MeRT use magnetic fields to stimulate specific regions of the brain associated with mood regulation
and may lead to improvements in depressive symptoms.

Among the commonly known therapy and medication, there are other resources online or on social
media that can help one deal with both short-term and long-term symptoms of MDD. Treatment,
whether that be psychotherapy or medication, can be very expensive and the waiting list often makes it
seem like you will never get the treatment that you need.

Fortunately, today there are many resources that you have access to for free and on your own time.

Social Media

Many online creators have developed their accounts to help educate and support those dealing with depression or MDD. These pages can become a safe outlet to help remind you that you are not alone; there are people out there who you can talk to or get advice from. Some creators are:

Instagram:
@talkwithzach
@join1love
@projecthealthyminds
@realdepressionproject

TikTok:
@the.truth.doctor
@dr.kojosarfo
@theshaniproject
@drjuliesmith

Online

Several different resources offer online therapy and other areas of support.

1. Sesame – Sesame offers same-day therapy at cheaper prices. Thousands of

doctors can help with up to 120+ conditions including depression.
2. Brightside Health – Brightside Health not only provides therapy but also personalized
psychiatry.

Apps

There are hundreds of apps out there that can help specific needs, whether that be getting a therapist, talking to others also dealing with depression, mindfulness, or tips and tricks. Listed below are some that may help you.

1. TalkLife – It provides a safe space for people to talk to others going through similar situations with depression (can choose to be anonymous).

2. Daylio Journal – This app allows you to track your mood, which can help you better understand triggers and make adjustments throughout your day.


3. Sanvello – Mindfulness is a newer approach to helping with depression but has soared due to its benefits. This app teaches different techniques that can help with relaxation and may help you move toward acceptance.

4. BetterHelp – BetterHelp provides online mental health services directly through the app. Although not free, it offers therapy to anyone through web-based interaction, phone calls, and text messaging. This takes away the waitlist issue that is common in therapy offered elsewhere.


You can also find mental health books at your local library