Major depressive disorder

Known to most as clinical depression, Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder generally characterized by low self-esteem and a loss of interest and pleasure in activities that normally would be found enjoyable.

Diagnosis of this disorder is based upon patients self reported experiences, behavioral patterns noticed and reported by friends or family and a mental status exam. The most common age of onset is between 30 and 40, with a later age peak between 50 and 60.

Treatment generally consists of anti-depressant medication backed up by counseling or psychotherapy.