Major depressive disorder, also known as major depression and clinical depression, is a mental disorder characterized by loss of interest and pleasure in enjoyable environment. People are affected in different ways by major depression. Some people have trouble sleeping, feel agitated and irritable, and have sudden weight loss. Moreover, they can have other mental and physical symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, feeling of hopelessness, body aches, headaches, and thoughts of suicide.
Major depressive disorder can affect people in any stage of life. In adults, major depressive disorder is most common in those who are 25-44 years of age. Within an entire lifetime, major depression affects 10% – 25% of women and 5% – 12% of men.
It is estimated that 10% – 25% of people who develop major depressive disorder are previously diagnosed with dysthymia (dysthymic disorder), a form of depression. Some people may suffer from dysthymia and major depressive disorder at the same time. The presence of both conditions at the same time is known as double depression.
The development of major depressive disorder may be related to certain medical conditions. Approximately 20% – 25% of people who have cancer, diabetes, stroke, and myocardial infarctions are likely to develop major depressive disorder.
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