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.