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Everyone experiences sadness or grief in reaction to loss or other devastating life events. Most people will find the inner strength to cope with stressful situations and ultimately return to their normal selves. Some people, however, may find themselves immersed in emotional turmoil unable to pull themselves out of the darkness. When a person experiences persistent low moods and lack of interest in life it may be time to consult a psychologist to determine if major depressive disorder is the culprit. Based on a patient's symptoms the psychologist can offer a diagnosis and treatment plan to relieve suffering.Major depressive disorder is also referred to as clinical depression, unipolar disorder, major depression or simply as depression. Major depressive disorder is defined by a depressed mood, poor self-esteem and lack of interest or pleasure in everyday activities. It is a debilitating state of mind that negatively impacts a person's social life, family life, work, sleep and health.
The most common age of onset for depression is between 30 and 50 years old. Women are more prone to the disorder than men. Major depressive disorder most commonly occurs in the form of an episode that may last for a stretch of weeks or months until treated. It may occur sporadically throughout a person's lifetime or may be expressed as a chronic condition unless treated. Major depressive disorder is the most common type of clinical depression. It is thus known as the "common cold" of clinical depression. It is theorized that some people are more prone than others to experiencing major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. From a psychological view, it is thought that personality and the way a person interacts with other people may play a part in how susceptible he or she is to depression. From a biological standpoint, it is theorized that some people have naturally lower levels of certain hormones, such as serotonin, that are vital to emotional stability and happiness.Major depressive disorder is diagnosed based on a combination of mental exams and comments from family, friends or colleagues. Depression cannot be determined by lab testing, but a doctor will run tests on a patient to rule out physical illness that may be causing symptoms of depression. To diagnose the disorder the doctor will look for a number of symptoms including depression lasting longer than two weeks, the patient feeling sad or irritable nearly every day, unusual weight loss or weight gain, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and loss of interest in everyday activities.It is important to seek medical treatment if suffering from depression. Treatment of major depressive disorder depends on the severity of the disorder. It is usually treated with a course of anti-depressant medication and possibly with psychological counseling. Severe cases, meaning patients that may inflict harm on themselves or others, may need hospitalization.
Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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