Major Depressive Disorder

Between 10-15% of people will experience a major depressive episode at some stage in their lives. Major depression is characterized by persistent low mood, loss of enjoyment and biological symptoms.

Its features include:

What treatments work?

Antidepressant medication:

Severe depression appears to be associated with a reduction in the chemicals in the brain. Antidepressant medication is designed to correct the imbalance of chemical messages between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. These drugs slowly build up the levels of the chemical neurotransmitters, (serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine), and help the brain work better. They can put you back in charge of your thoughts and add spring back in your step. They are not addictive, and are not in the tranquilliser class such as Valium. They may take 4 to 6 weeks to achieve the desired benefit.

Changing routines & behavioral therapy: (separate sheet)

Depressed people often find themselves losing enjoyment of their surroundings and activities. The logical response to this is to stop doing things and become socially withdrawn. Strategies to help include:

Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT)
- Usually reserved for severe life threatening depression or depression unresponsive to other treatments -
see separate sheet


Extracted from:  Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression ..
* All information is intended as a guide only and should be used in association with your health professional
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