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Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms Causes & Legal Protections


Is Major Depressive Disorder a disability? Everything you need to know

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a type of mental illness that affects millions of people around the world. While it is known to cause severe emotional distress, what is often overlooked is the fact that it can also be a disability.

In this comprehensive guide, we aim to provide a detailed understanding of MDD as a disability, including its symptoms, causes, and how it can impact your life.

We will also explore the legal aspects of MDD as a disability, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and how it can protect you in the workplace. Whether you are living with MDD, or know someone who is, this guide will provide valuable insights and resources to help you navigate this complex condition.  

How do doctors and nurses diagnose Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is diagnosed using the DSM-V, which outlines criteria of the disorder. A cluster of symptoms centered around a depressed mood, include: Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, lack of energy, insomnia or hypersomnia, inability to concentrate or indecisiveness, decrease or increase in appetite, psychomotor retardation or agitation, and suicidal ideations. 

Nursing diagnoses for major depression differ from medical diagnoses, but are still an important part of helping patients find the care they need. It involves the evaluation of medical, psychological, and social factors that are associated with the diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Nursing diagnosis provides guidance to healthcare professionals in developing an effective treatment plan and helping patients achieve better overall health outcomes. NANDA approved nursing diagnoses for MDD may include impaired mood regulation or chronic sorrow. 

What if I feel depressed and anxious?

MDD with anxious distress is a form of Major Depressive Disorder that is characterized by heightened anxiety, as well as other symptoms associated with depression. This type of mental health disorder can often be hard to diagnose due to its complicated nature, but it can manifest in a number of ways.

People suffering from MDD with anxious distress may experience an inability to focus, insomnia, fatigue, and other signs of depression.  They may also have a heightened sense of fear, worry, and rumination, but lack the symptoms for a separate diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. 

Many of the medications used to treat MDD and generalized anxiety disorder are the same, and complex treatment regimens are not needed.  The best treatment option for MDD with anxious distress is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. 

What separates MDD from Bipolar disorder?

There are a few key differences between major depression and bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is known as a “mood swing” disorder in which the patient can experience intense manic episodes followed by severe depression.

In contrast, someone with major depression experiences feelings of sadness and despair that can last for weeks or months.  Because bipolar disorder has both phases, mania and depression, it is often called bipolar depression. 

Major depression only has one phase of symptoms, and is, therefore, called unipolar depression.  When it comes to treatment, the two disorders require different approaches. Generally, medication in the form of an antidepressant is used to treat major depression. 

Bipolar disorder must be treated with a mood stabilizer first, though antidepressants can be added later. Understanding the differences between major depression and bipolar disorder is critical in order to seek the right treatment.

Can major depression cause psychosis?

MDD with psychotic features is a particularly severe form of major depressive disorder in which psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations are present. Auditory hallucinations are the most common type and are typically aligned with an individuals mood. 

For instance, a severely depressed individual may think they hear voices saying negative things to them. This type of depression typically requires more intense treatment, and may require multiple medications to alleviate symptoms at first. It’s important for those struggling with MDD with psychotic features to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment plan for them.

Diagnosing Major Depressive Disorder as a Disability

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a debilitating illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by persistent and pervasive feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in activities that were once enjoyed. 

Other common symptoms include changes in appetite and sleeping patterns, low energy levels, and difficulty concentrating. MDD can significantly impact one’s ability to function normally in everyday life and can lead to significant impairment in work, school, and social functioning.

For these reasons, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes MDD as a disability. It is important for individuals with MDD to seek treatment and support from mental health professionals to manage their symptoms and improve overall well-being. 

To determine if MDD qualifies as a disability, it is crucial to first establish if an individual meets the diagnosis as determined by a qualified mental health professional who will conduct an evaluation to identify the symptoms of MDD and ascertain if any underlying conditions, such as anxiety disorders, are impacting the individual’s functioning.

 Other factors that can influence a diagnosis include the individual’s medical and family history, as well as any substance abuse concerns. After a diagnosis is formed, it must be established that the disability is causing severe limitations on an individual’s life.  Only then may one be considered for disability, which may be obtained by filing at a local Social Security Administration office. 

Final Say

In conclusion, Major Depressive Disorder can have a significant impact on individuals and their ability to perform daily activities. It is crucial to recognize MDD as a disability and understand the legal protections available under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While seeking treatment and support is essential, it’s equally important to educate yourself and others about MDD as a disability to break down stigma and provide support to those who need it. We hope that this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights into the symptoms, causes, and legal aspects of MDD as a disability, and we encourage you to use the resources available to you to seek help and support. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for recovery. 

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Excel Psychiatry

Faith Behavioral Health Group
McKinney, TX 75071

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