What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Maybe you've received a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, or you just want to know what it is. Well in this post, I'm going to walk you through the diagnostic criteria so you come away understanding what major depressive disorder is… and what it isn't. And be sure to stick around until the end, as I'll share some insight into how lifestyle choices can positively impact mental health…and some personal words of encouragement.


Let's first define major depressive disorder by its diagnostic criteria as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A. Five or more of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

Before we dive into these, let's just ensure that part settled. There's 9 items in this upcoming list, and five or more have to be met during a two week period, AND,...

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What is Mental Health? What is Mental Illness?

Let's do a quick word association. Let me know which words immediately come to mind when I say, "physical health".


Was it, diet? Exercise? Wellbeing?


Now what comes to mind when I say, "mental health".


Was it, anxiety? Depression? Stress?


How come when we say "mental health", the first things that often come to mind are mental illnesses? What's the difference between mental health…and mental illness? This week, I'm answering all that and more.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illness are "health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities."


They go on to say that "mental health involves effective functioning in daily activities resulting in productive activities (work, school, caregiving), healthy relationships, ability to adapt to change and cope with...

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Reclaim Your Morning.

Unstoppable Mental Health.

Dr. K's Daily Journal is a neuroscience-backed approach to help you start taking action on the things that matter to you, especially when it's hard.

This simple, easy-to-use one-page journal helps you:

  • Create an unshakable morning ritual that helps you reclaim ANY rough morning
  • Create and monitor your personal and professional goals in a way that drives you to action
  • Create optimal everyday mental health by providing accountability
  • End of day reflection to end self-criticism