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Mental Health Concerns
160
MDD as well as the severity of symptoms tend to increase
over time. Untreated MDD can be tremendously debilitating
and is believed to significantly increase risk for suicide.
Symptoms of MDD
The onset of the first episode of major depression may not
be obvious if it is gradual or mild. The symptoms of MDD
characteristically represent a significant change from
previous functioning.
The symptoms include:
persistently sad or irritable mood
pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
difficulty thinking, concentrating, and remembering
physical slowing or agitation
lack of interest in or pleasure from activities that were
once enjoyed
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and
emptiness
recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to
treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and
chronic pain
When several of these symptoms of depressive illness occur
at the same time, last longer than two weeks and interfere
with ordinary functioning, professional treatment is needed.