Essay on Assignment 3A - Major Depressive Disorder

Submitted By essentiallynate
Words: 816
Pages: 4

Nathaniel Brown
Intro to Psychology
Winter 2014
Assignment 3
Disorder: Major Depressive Disorder

MDD, according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-V; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), can be diagnosed when a person experiences five or more of the following symptoms for the same two-week period: Depressed mood most of the day nearly every day, diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities, significant change in weight, insomnia or hypersomnia, restless feelings, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, diminished ability to think, and recurrent thoughts of death. An informational fact sheet published by the National Alliance on Mental Health (2009) also states that “persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain,” may also be indicators of Major Depressive Disorder. According to R.H. Belmaker and Galila Agam's article “ Mechanics of Disease - Major Depressive Disorder” (in the New England Journal of Medicine), depression “... is related to the normal emotions of sadness and bereavement, but does not remit when the external cause of these emotions dissipates […]” Major Depressive Disorder has no singular cause, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is generally accepted that the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine contribute in some way to MDD. Scientists believe that clinical depression comes about at least partially as a result of an imbalance with these neurotransmitters (NAMI 2009). Depression has also been proved to have a genetic predisposition – the likelihood of someone having MDD goes up when there is a family history of the disorder. This is by no means a guaranteed predictor of MDD, but it does leave some individuals vulnerable to developing it. Clinical depression can be triggered by a variety of stressors, including traumatic life events such as the death of a family member, a major loss, or chronic stress. It can also be brought on by frequent drug or alcohol abuse, or physiological illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. Even so, depressive episodes do not require a traumatic trigger and may occur on their own regardless of the quality of the sufferer's life (NAMI 2009). I feel that my artwork accurately reflects some the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder in several ways. As a former sufferer of MDD, I am intimately familiar with the emotional torment this disorder causes – especially self-loathing and the desire to hide my problems and wallow in self-pity. By juxtaposing the wounds on the body and the cry for help with a not quite convincing smile, I tried to convey the helplessness associated with clinical depression and the feelings of not deserving help despite how much it is needed (a side effect of the excessive guilt and feelings of worthlessness brought on by this disorder). I chose Major Depressive Disorder as a subject because I personally suffered from this disorder for several years before receiving therapy. I feel that my experiences with the effects of MDD provides me with some unique insight about the disorder and how to portray it in a piece of art. I also felt the nature of Major Depressive disorder lends itself well to a piece of art, due to the extreme emotions involved and the