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Bipolar Disorder can be envisioned as a seesaw movement back and forth between two poles or mood states ("bi" means "two").In contrast to people with Bipolar Disorder, people with Major Depression remain on the down mood pole; they do not exhibit mood swings.The current section provides an in-depth look at Major Depression by summarizing symptoms and diagnostic criteria, prevalence and course, historical and contemporary understandings of the causes of the illness, and assessment and treatment.Use the sidebar to explore all pages in this section.During a particular day or week, people can shift from good (or "up") moods, to bad (or "down") moods, or remain somewhere in the middle ("neutral" mood).A person who experiences significant impairment related to shifting between up and down moods often has Bipolar Disorder (discussed in more detail later).To paraphrase Sam Peckinpah when asked why he made his movie violence so real...
For example, if someone is depressed, they may not feel like exercising.
Although only a minority of people seek professional help to relieve a mood disorder, depressed people are significantly more likely than others to visit a physician.
Some people express their sadness in physical ways, and these individuals may undergo extensive and expensive diagnostic procedures and treatments while their mood disorder goes undiagnosed and untreated.
Disability and suffering is not limited to the individual diagnosed with MDD.
Spouses, children, parents, siblings, and friends of people experiencing Major Depression often experience frustration, guilt, anger, and financial hardship in their attempts to cope with the suffering of their friend or loved one.
We also know that people who are depressed cannot simply will themselves to snap out of it.