Major Depression: Statistics, Causes, Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Also known as unipolar or major depressive disorder, it is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or lack of interest in external stimuli.

The unipolar state connotes a difference between major depression and bipolar depression, which refers to an oscillating state between depression and mania.

In contrast, unipolar depression focuses only on the “low”, or negative emotions and symptoms that may have experienced. Fortunately, major depression is well understood in the medical community and is often easily treatable through a combination of medications and talk therapy.

Below you will find a guide to everything from the symptoms and causes of major depression, to the statistics and treatment you can seek from a medical professional if you think you need help.

Patient statistics

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the incidence of depression throughout life in the United States is more than 20-26% for women and 8-12% for men.

Although it is not a large majority, it represents an important part of the population, many of whom do not seek recurrent treatment for their depression.

While these men and women have lifetime episodes, the average age for onset of major depression is 32 years, as reported by the US Census. UU Population estimates by demographic characteristics in 2005.

Keeping this in mind, it is important to note that women are disproportionately affected by major depression compared to men, as reflected in the different significant percentage cited above.

Here are several reasons why women are more commonly affected by major depression disorder, but mainly due to the tendency of depression to coincide with other diseases and mental disorders.

It can result in a collation with anything from pregnancy to more chronic or recurring problems. The National Institute of Mental Health has observed that 25% of patients with cancer, one third of patients with HIV and one third of heart attack survivors suffer from major depression.

While those particular conditions are more prevalent in men, Psychology Today has stated that a physiological reason commonly cited for women who experience major depression more than men.

It is due to fluctuating hormones and genetic predisposition, particularly at the time of puberty, childbirth and menopause .

However, major depression is a serious problem for both sexes, and if left untreated, can have fatal results. Fortunately, there is good news.

The National Institute of Health has noted that approximately 80% of patients seeking treatment for major depression show improvement within four to six weeks, from “starting medication, psychotherapy, attending support groups or a combination of these treatments. ”


Although the prevalence of major depression is widespread, the causes of major depression are equally numerous and have their origin in a variety of places. The neuron medical journal cites genetics as a predominant cause of major depressive disorder, with an approximately 3 times higher risk for TDM.

Major Depressive Disorder or TDM

In the first grade (parents, siblings, offspring) of individuals with MDD compared to the general population are more likely. This means that the biggest determinant of your depression can be found in your family tree, but there is also a significant physiological and anatomical basis.

Concurrent medical conditions and diseases can be a serious risk factor for having a major depressive episode. In addition, the symptoms of the disorder itself can cause depression.

For example:

  • Changing the appetite, eating in excess or without treatment.
  • Deregulate your sleep schedule or compensate your circadian rhythms.
  • Adjusting these patterns and habits often will not treat your depression, but they can be a big step in relieving your other symptoms along with professional treatment.

It is unknown to what extent the anatomical and physiological factors have on major depression, but it is believed to be significant.

Along with socioeconomic factors (the loss of a job and a sense of economic deprivation, for example), the above is considered the main reason why you would suffer a major depressive disorder.


You may be surprised to learn that there are many different types of major depressive disorder that can affect you and that can make life difficult for you.

Each type often has different causes, but usually involves the same feeling of disinterest in the activities you once loved and a general feeling of melancholy.

These are divided into subtypes called specifiers that determine how long the diagnosis of depression lasts and the defining characteristic of each type.

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD

It is classified as a disease caused directly by the time of year. It occurs most frequently in the winter months when sunlight is not so readily available.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that SAD can be “effectively treated with phototherapy, but almost half of people with SAD do not improve with phototherapy alone.” Guidance and medications are also recommended.

Psychotic depression often develops if you have been hallucinating or if you believe in delusions that are not consistent with reality. This can be caused by a traumatic event or if you have already had a form of depression in the past.

Postpartum depression is a common occurrence among first-time mothers who experience hormonal changes after childbirth.

The stress of raising a new child and the changes in your body can affect your mood. In addition, the Canadian Mental Health Association states that adopting parents can also suffer some of the symptoms of postpartum depression.

People with melancholic depression often exhibit the most typical signs of depression, including weight loss and less interest in the activities they once loved.

You may experience a depressed mood similar to losing someone you love or intense pain. Atypical depression is often directly related to your mood and your interactions with others. Symptoms include hypersomnia, heaviness in the extremities and social anxiety.

If you suffer from catatonic depression, you are likely to experience motor and behavioral problems. It can be immobilized or have involuntary movements. According to the National Institute of Health of the US National Library of Medicine. UU

It is a “psychotic disorder that presents a significant risk to the patient’s well-being, as well as an additional barrier to treating the underlying disorder”. The signs and symptoms of catatonia severely interfere with the essential activities of daily life.

Signs and symptoms

There may be a number of contributing factors related to the cause of your depression. Usually, these manifest themselves in coping behaviors and reactions to how you feel. Depending on the type of depression you have, you may experience several symptoms:

  • Negative thinking with inability to see positive solutions.
  • Agitation.
  • Restlessness.
  • Inability to focus.
  • Irritability.
  • Get away from your loved ones and regular activities.
  • Sleep more.
  • Exhaustion and lethargy.
  • Morbid, suicidal thoughts.
  • Loss or gain of weight.


There are several treatment methods for major depression disorder. These approaches include psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other somatic therapies.

However, ECT is generally avoided, except in extreme circumstances, in favor of both psychotherapy and antidepressants.

A medical psychiatrist can provide psychotherapy services and prescribe antidepressants, which differ for each person based on individual needs. If you experience any of the symptoms or are related in any way to major depression disorder, you should seek help from a medical professional.

Fortunately, major depressive disorder has become less stigmatized in recent years. There is a lot of in depth information available about depression, and it is likely that the medical professional you choose will do it with you so that you can choose the best treatment for your lifestyle.

You should feel that you have options. Most likely, you do not have to be overwhelmed by this disease and the negativity that often comes with symptoms of depression. Talking to a counselor and a medical professional is the first step to living a happier and more satisfying life.