Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major depressive disorder is a mental health condition. MDD often makes you feel sad, hopeless, or helpless. MDD can also cause symptoms in your body. MDD can affect your:

  • Work.
  • School.
  • Relationships.
  • Other normal activities.

MDD can range from mild to very bad. It may occur once (single episode MDD). It can also occur many times (recurrent MDD).

The main symptoms of MDD often include:

  • Feeling sad, depressed, or irritable most of the time.
  • Loss of interest.

MDD symptoms also include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Eating too much or too little.
  • A change in your weight.
  • Feeling tired (fatigue) or having low energy.
  • Feeling worthless.
  • Feeling guilty.
  • Trouble making decisions.
  • Trouble thinking clearly.
  • Thoughts of suicide or harming others.
  • Feeling weak.
  • Feeling agitated.
  • Keeping yourself from being around other people (isolation).

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Do these things as told by your doctor:
    • Go back to your normal activities.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Spend time outdoors.


  • Talk with your doctor about how alcohol can affect your antidepressant medicines.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Or, limit how much alcohol you drink.
    • This means no more than 1 drink a day for nonpregnant women and 2 drinks a day for men. One drink equals one of these:
      • 12 oz of beer.
      • 5 oz of wine.
      • 1½ oz of hard liquor.

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Find activities that you enjoy. Make time to do them.
  • Think about joining a support group. Your doctor may be able to suggest a group for you.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Where to find more information:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness:
  • U.S. National Institute of Mental Health:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
    • 1-800-273-8255. This is free, 24-hour help.

Contact a doctor if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have new symptoms.

Get help right away if:

  • You self-harm.
  • You see, hear, taste, smell, or feel things that are not present (hallucinate).

If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others, or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. You can go to your nearest emergency department or call:

  • Your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
  • A suicide crisis helpline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
    • 1-800-273-8255. This is open 24 hours a day.

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