mental health intervention

Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms

Sadness is a natural emotion. People have bouts of sadness when they lose a job or don’t get a much-desired promotion, when a loved one passes on, or when a relationship dissolves. That sadness will usually pass within a few weeks or months as new opportunities arise. However, sometimes a person will feel more than sad. They will feel depressed and may need help to deal with that depression appropriately. Be aware of the major depressive disorder symptoms in your loved one and consider whether a mental health intervention might be necessary.

Numbers Increasing

There can be many causes for a person experiencing major depressive disorder. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the isolation and uncertainty that most people have experienced over the past year and a half have been among the major factors. The CDC reports that from August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with symptoms of a depressive disorder or anxiety increased from 36.4% to 41.5%.

The number of adults with a mental illness was on the rise even before the pandemic, however. During the period from 2017 to 2018, 19% of adults had experienced a mental illness. From 2016-2017 to 2017-2018, the percentage of adults in the US with serious thoughts of suicide increased by 0.15%, or an additional 460,000 people. Over 7% of adults in the US experienced a major depressive episode in 2017.

A Significant Medical Condition

Major depressive disorder is typically diagnosed in someone who experiences intense and persistent feelings of sadness over a period of time. If your loved one has been sad for a very long time, they may have this significant medical condition. Major depressive disorder can affect virtually every aspect of their life, impacting their mood and behavior, making it very difficult for them to function.

When your loved one does not recognize the condition in themselves or does not want to seek treatment for their depression, it may be time for you and your family to step in with a mental health intervention. Watch for the symptoms of major depressive disorder in the individual’s behavior and mood.

Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms

An individual who is diagnosed with major depressive disorder will have experienced a change in their functioning, show symptoms consistently for two or more weeks, and have depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure as one of their symptoms. In addition, they will have at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling irritable or sad for most of the day, almost every day
  • Showing much less interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Experiencing a significant change in appetite
  • Suddenly losing or gaining weight
  • Experiencing a sense of restlessness
  • Having trouble sleeping, including difficulty falling asleep or wanting to sleep more than usual
  • Feeling unusually tired or lacking energy
  • Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Feeling guilty or worthless, usually about things that shouldn’t make them feel that way
  • Having thoughts of or attempting to harm themselves or attempting suicide.

If you or someone you know is talking about harming themselves or others, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).

Depressive Disorder Causes

Although the exact cause of major depressive disorder is not known, factors such as stress, genes, and a hormone imbalance may contribute to the development of the mental illness. It can also be triggered by medical conditions such as cancer or hypothyroidism, medications such as steroids, abuse during childhood, or alcohol or drug use.

Mental Health Interventions

When you someone you love is struggling with major depressive disorder symptoms, you recognize that they are challenged with functioning on a daily basis even though they may not see it in themselves. You also realize that they need help. Mentioning their illness or the fact they need to get treatment may cause them to react negatively or to become self-defensive. A professional mental health intervention can help ensure that your loved one gets the help they need so they can move forward with a healthier life, mentally and physically.


When someone you love shows signs of major depressive disorder, holding an intervention could be the only way to help them understand why and how to seek help. An early intervention can prevent many issues in their life, as they are encouraged to get treatment before it’s too late. If your loved one is struggling with mental illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact Whitman Recovery Service. With more than 30 years of experience, our team can help you stage an intervention with a positive outcome; we have a 98 percent success rate. We are available at (210) 291-0278.