Major Depression

August 6, 2022

what is major depressive disorder?

definition and symptoms

by Jamal Ross

Major depression is a term we hear from time-to-time to describe a state where someone feels down for prolonged period of time. Social interactions and activities of daily living can be affected.  As discussed previously, feelings of depression can be link to a medical condition, medication, menstruation, pregnancy, loss of a loved one or change in one’s environment. At other times, others may feel depressed and not quite know why. In this case, your doctor may be suspicious of a major depressive disorder. In the course of a lifetime, about 12% of individuals may be affected by depression worldwide. In the United States and Europe, about 18% of individuals may deal with major depression. (1) Over the next several blogs (podcast episodes), we will discover more about the symptoms of major depression and how we can use the bible to live a happier life and attack each symptom of this disease. Today, Let’s define major depressive disorder and list the symptoms.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is a book used by health care professionals to diagnose mental health conditions, including major depression. According the DSM-5, those with major depressive disorder have a depressed mood and a lack in the interest and pleasure in most, if not all, activities of life. A lack in the interest in the activities of life is called anhedonia. Other symptoms of depression include changes to eating habits, weight, sleep, energy level and concentration. There can also be thoughts of worthlessness or guilt. With extreme symptoms of depression, one may find themselves having thoughts of harming themselves or others. (2,3) Remember, these thoughts are not of God and should be rejected immediately. You have an amazing life to live and a God given purpose to fulfill.

Importantly, you can feel depressed without being depressed. In order words, feelings of depression do not necessarily mean one suffers from major depressive disorder. Major depression disorder is diagnosed when it predominates your mood greater than 50% of the time and persists for no less than two weeks. In essence, we all can feel “down in the dumps” from time to time, but major depression occurs when feelings of emptiness, sadness and depression fill your thoughts, impact your daily life, and last for a prolonged time.

Starting today, I want you to throw away the title of depression that has been placed upon you. Your heart will be filled with genuine joy and laughter. This does not mean you should stop taking your medication or speaking with a counselor. Instead, educate yourself on this disease while partnering with your healthcare team to defeat depression. Most importantly, arm yourself with the word of God as you place your full trust in Him. Remember, Jesus will bring you out of the darkness and break your chains into pieces. (See Psalm 107:14) We claim our victory today for the battle we will win over depression in the future!

1. Krishnan R. Unipolar depression in adults: Epidemiology. In: UpToDate, Solomon D. (Eds), UpToDate, Waltham, MA (Assessed July 27, 2022)
2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.)
3. Jeffrey M Lyness. Patient Education Depression in Adults (Beyond the Basics) Tests for screening for colorectal cancer. In: UpToDate, Peter PRB & David S. (Eds), UpToDate, Waltham, MA

Jamal Ross

Dr. Jamal Ross is an internist and pediatrician who possesses a passion for prayer and preventative medicine. He has worked in the fields of primary care and hospital medicine.

Related Posts

Prayer to Defeat Depression

Prayer to Defeat Depression

It has been a long journey. We have learned so much about depression, as well as how this condition can be treated. In the end remember, depression does not control you. You are not defined by this condition. You are already free from depression or any negative emotions through the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Today, I would like to pray for your healing and thank God in advance that he has broken the chains of depression in your life.

Types of Therapy

Types of Therapy

Up to this point in our depression series we have discussed several conditions that have a depressed mood as a symptom of the condition; this includes premenstrual syndrome (PMS), post-partum blues and depression, normal and prolonged grief, major depression disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Depending on the condition and severity, medication may be needed to help control symptoms. On the other hand, therapy tends to be beneficial in all these conditions. A therapist can use many types of therapy methods. It can be helpful to know which therapy method is being used in your case or what methods tend to work best for you. In this way, you can come to your session engaged and empowered.

What is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

There are events in our life that seem to create permanent painful memories that are etched onto the fabric of our minds. These memories arise from traumatic events that instills a depth of hurt so deep that it seems impossible to rid ourselves of these thoughts. It shapes our interactions others and can serve as a hinderance to living a fulfilling life. When thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks of a painful experience affects your daily activities and how you interact with others, this is called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Let’s find out more about what causes PSTD and, more importantly, what the bible says about our recovery from the thoughts and trauma of our past.

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition whereby someone’s mood and habits can swing form one pole to the next. On one pole, there is depression. On the other pole there is mania, which is a period of heightened activity, risk taking and poor choices that can lead to severe consequences. Over a lifetime bipolar disorder affects about 1-3% of the population worldwide. Bipolar begins around the age of 18 to 20 years and affects men and women equally. Though bipolar disorder is not the most common psychological illness; when recognized, this condition does require treatment.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *