Major Depressive Disorder: Overview, Treatment and Recurrence Prevention

This literature review presents an overview of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) followed by summaries of up-to-date research on the pathophysiology and treatment of depression. The incidence of MDD continues to increase despite modern day advances in research and treatment. Those employed in the psychological field, as well as primary care practitioners, will undoubtedly treat those affected by MDD. Treatment preference is often influenced by the mental health professionals’ training and education. In order to give individuals the best care possible, it is imperative that professionals have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of the disorder including the presentation of the illness, pathophysiology, and current treatment recommendations. Treatment choice should be made on an individual basis regardless of the educational background of the provider. A number of psychotherapeutic approaches as well as an array of antidepressant medications are used to treat individuals with MDD. It can be confusing to know which treatment is most effective and appropriate. This review will examine five recent clinical trials and meta-analyses of the treatment options including psychotherapy, pharmacological treatment, and a combination approach. A discussion will then follow addressing which treatment option is most effective.

Stacie L. Nelson
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