About Major Depressive Disorder

If you feel constant sadness or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, you may be experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD can feel isolating, but you are not alone: about 12% of people will experience MDD in their lifetime. Through treatment and lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, you can prevent your symptoms from interfering with your life.

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

MDD is diagnosed when your symptoms are disruptive to daily functioning.

Symptoms of major depressive disorder may include:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite

Risk Factors for Major Depressive Disorder

While researchers are still untangling the many factors that contribute to MDD onset, certain people are more likely to develop the condition.

Risk factors for major depressive disorder may include:

  • Comorbid conditions: People with MDD often have other mental health conditions (e.g., anxiety)
  • Family history: People with MDD often have a family member with the condition
  • Personal history: A history of early stress may be linked to MDD onset
  • Sex: MDD is more common in women

Treating Major Depressive Disorder at UT Health Austin

Major depressive disorder is usually treated through some combination of talk therapy and medications, such as the following:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are additional options for patients who do not respond to these more common treatment methods. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action.

Care Team Approach

At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Adult Psychiatry care team includes a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and psychologist who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.

Your initial appointments will be scheduled with the team’s psychiatrist to collect a comprehensive history, clarify presenting concerns, and discuss potential treatment options. If warranted, treatment recommendations may include ongoing psychiatric care provided by a psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) and/or behavioral therapy services provided by a psychologist.

We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to better address all aspects of your condition. At the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, we create custom pathways to address you, the whole patient, by providing specialized treatment and management plans. Imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed.

Learn More About Your Care Team

A young woman smiles at another woman with her back to the camera.

Adult Psychiatry

Health Transformation Building, 7th Floor
1601 Trinity Street, Bldg. A, Austin, Texas 78712
1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737)
Get Directions

An elderly African-American man sits with his toddler grandson on his lap as they both reach toward game pieces on a chess board.

Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences

Health Transformation Building, 7th Floor
1601 Trinity Street, Bldg. A, Austin, Texas 78712
1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737)
Get Directions

A young man dressed in a blue shirt and jeans, sits on the edge of a bed with hands crossed, looking out a window.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Health Transformation Building, 7th Floor
1601 Trinity Street, Bldg. A, Austin, Texas 78712
1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737)
Get Directions