Major or Persistent? Understanding the Difference In Depressive Disorders

Depression, Depression Therapy

For those suffering from depressive disorders, understanding what they are suffering from is essential for developing a treatment plan that will help them on their road to healing long-term. While many may simply combine all depressive symptoms in an all-encompassing “depressive disorder”, there are actually varying types that have different treatment processes.

As a psychologist Berkeley, I have the privilege to work with individuals who are struggling with their depressive disorder symptoms every day – seeking to help them discover more about their mental health and the steps that they can take to find hope and healing from their chronic mental illness.f

In general, many individuals suffer from two main depressive disorders: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). While the two have symptoms and experiences that overlap, they are two different diagnoses that require different types of treatment.

As a local Berkeley psychologist, I can help those suffering from MDD or PDD with proven methods of treatment that can relieve the debilitating symptoms of depressive disorders. Let’s take a look at both MDD and PDD and learn how both are different, and how there is hope for those suffering from each.

The Characteristics Of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

The most common form of depressive disorder is known as Major Depressive Disorder. When individuals refer to themselves as having been diagnosed with a depressive disorder, it is likely that they are suffering from a form of MDD. MDD is a severe mood disorder that can cause one to suffer from ongoing depressive emotions and lose interest in their daily life.

MDD features some or many of the following symptoms:

  • An ongoing depressed mood that can range in severity
  • Loss of interest in daily life that results in inability to engage with work or others
  • Wild fluctuations in weight gain and loss
  • Disrupted sleep or the inability to remain asleep at night
  • Physical feelings of fatigue and a lack of motivation
  • Trouble concentrating on daily tasks
  • Recurring thoughts of death or a consideration of an attempt to commit suicide

MDD can vary in severity over time, and will often come upon individuals with a sudden fierceness that is noticed by others. With proper help and treatment, individuals can learn how to recover from episodes of MDD and build healthy habits and routines for navigating dark times successfully.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

Another type of depressive disorder that affects nearly 2% of adults in the United States is known as Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). Also referred to as dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder is a type of depressive disorder that is marked by ongoing depressive symptoms for more than two years.

With PDD, the depression can range from mild to severe, and many individuals will experience small lapses in the depression before falling back into depressive tendencies once more.

Those who have visited me in my psychologist Berkeley office often report some or many of the following symptoms of PDD:

  • An overwhelming sense of chronic sadness
  • Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable or engaging
  • Ongoing feelings of anger and irritability that one cannot pinpoint
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, and a sense of hopelessness
  • Disrupted sleep and an inability to fall asleep quickly
  • Oversleeping and an ongoing lethargy
  • Physical fatigue and a lack of energy to engage with daily life and other people
  • Changes in appetite and fluctuation in weight
  • Trouble concentrating

PDD shares several of the same symptoms as MDD, but those with PDD will often have lower-levels of symptoms for much longer than MDD sufferers. Also, fewer individuals with PDD report thoughts of death or suicide. However, both MDD and PDD can cause individuals to contemplate death in an unhealthy way and seek to escape their circumstances with suicide.

Learn More With A Local Psychologist Berkeley

Both Persistent Depressive Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder require a clinical diagnosis in order to be treated properly. For those who are struggling with the symptoms of MDD or PDD and want to learn if they are suffering from a diagnosable depressive disorder, the first step is to speak with a trained and experienced psychologist.

There are many treatment plans available for those suffering from depressive disorders, and as more research emerges about both MDD and PDD, there is new hope for finding healing and freedom from the chains of depression.

Want to learn more about MDD, PDD, or other mental illnesses? Discover the services that I offer as a Berkeley psychologist by calling my office or visiting my site online today. Together, we can move toward hope and healing from depression and discover a new passion for a life worth living.