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Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is recognized as the world’s most widespread mood disorder. It is unknown what causes depression. Treating this mental health condition is also a complex process. However, one method of treatment that has proven to be highly effective is  intensive outpatient services.

Clinical depression

What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?

Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression or simply depression, is a mood disorder that results in symptoms of hopelessness, loss of interest, and sadness for at least two weeks. Those suffering from depression symptoms can struggle with everyday tasks such as eating, thinking clearly, and sleeping.

When a person encounters difficult life events, like personal bereavement or losing their job, it is natural for them to be sad and grieve. However, this must not be confused with depression. Along with involving other symptoms aside from sadness, it persists essentially every day for weeks, possibly even months or longer without treatment. If someone doesn’t treat depression, symptoms can last longer and get worse. Cases of severe depression have led to sufferers deciding to self-harm and commit suicide. Fortunately, there have been significant advances in treatment options for major depressive disorder. One of the most effective are Intensive Outpatient Services.

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IOP for Major Depressive Disorder
MDD treatment in MA

Are You Qualified for IOS Treatment for Major Depression?

Despite its effectiveness, IOS treatment is not suitable for everyone. The program is designed for those aged 18 and older who are either moving up to another level of care from outpatient providers or stepping down from an acute hospitalization. To qualify, you must give our admissions team a call and start out with a phone screen.  Call us now to begin the process.

How Intensive Outpatient Services Can Help

Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Services (MH-IOS) is an effective treatment choice for different mood disorders. This includes those who are living with depression. With the right IOS treatment, which utilizes various therapy modalities and outpatient psychiatric services, it is possible to improve symptoms of depression and enhance your overall mental health.

At Atlantic Behavioral Health, our MH-IOS treatment is a well-coordinated care program. Headed by a professional psychiatrist, it supplies intensive treatment within a structured setting. Along with education and medication management, our clinical talk therapy approaches include mindfulness, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The start of our MH-IOS treatment begins with a personalized approach. A psychiatric evaluation is conducted for each patient, which helps with developing a treatment plan and medication. Meetings with our psychiatric provider continue throughout the program to revise and adjust this strategy when necessary.

The fundamental core of our MH-IOS programming is group therapy. Group sessions are directed by an experienced professional, and they supply reflective psychodynamic experiences that help patients achieve a greater understanding – and positive response – to the depression they are experiencing. Groups are great for participants to reflect and interact with each other, which includes opportunities to share insights and concerns, practice healthy interpersonal communication skills, and learn from past experiences of others.

For more insight into IOS, here are the main benefits of using this type of mental healthcare for major depressive disorder:

  • Meets your specific needs: No one person is the same. Everyone has different needs, a unique family history, and mindsets, and it’s important these are considered with treatment. When participating in an IOS, a mental health professional will put together a custom strategy that meets your specific requirements. This is then carried out across both individual and group therapy sessions, all within a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Less restrictive: An IOS doesn’t have the same restrictions as inpatient care treatment. There’s no requirement for overnight stays. It also doesn’t have to disrupt your daily activities. As a result, you don’t have to take time off from work or relinquish your family responsibilities.
  • Quick treatment: Although results are not achieved overnight, IOS is intended as a relatively quick treatment solution. Programs are conducted over a 10–12-week schedule, with the aim being to significantly reduce the impact of your depressed mood over that time period.
  • Connect with others: IOS treatment opens you up to the advantages of working with support groups. It allows you to connect with others who are in a similar situation to you. By being able to share experiences, advice, and insights, you – and those in the group – can improve your depressive symptoms.
  • Professional support: When signing up for an IOS with Atlantic Behavioral Health, you gain the professional support you require for treating depression. You work with a specialist healthcare provider who will continually monitor your progress through the program. In addition, you receive continued support following treatment.
  • Flexible Hours: Our Evening IOS Program allows for day activities like work or family commitments to continue during your treatment. 

Taking place at our medical facility in Massachusetts, our IOS for depressive disorders is flexible to meet your requirements. Sessions, which take place Monday to Thursday, are scheduled throughout the day to best match up with your daily routine.

Contact us today to learn more about our IOS for major depressive disorder.

Types of Depression

It may seem like depression is a straightforward mental illness. However, there are different types of depression, with changes in severity and how they form. Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, these are the types of depressive disorders:

To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), this is when a person has felt down, worthless, or sad consistently for at least two weeks. They can also experience other symptoms, such as lost interest in activities, problems with sleeping, or a change in appetite. This is the most severe major depression form.

This is a mild or moderate depression which, as its name suggests, is persistent. While the symptoms are not as severe compared to clinical depression, they persist for at least two years. Even when it’s mild depression, this can still negatively impact someone’s mindset. PPD was formerly known as dysthymia.

Females who have periods can experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Along with premenstrual syndrome symptoms, PMDD leads to mood symptoms like anxiety, extreme irritability, or general depression. Symptoms clear up after a few days following the start of a period, although the severity of them can be disruptive to daily life.

This form of depression is found in children. It is recognized when a child demonstrates regular anger outbursts and constant, intense irritability. Symptoms typically show from 10 years of age.

Additionally, there are specific types of major depressive disorder. These include:

When someone is pregnant, they can suffer from prenatal depression. Postpartum depression occurs when a person suffers from depression symptoms after delivering their baby.

The name spotlights how this form of depression is different from the “typical” kind. Also referred to as major depressive disorder, atypical depression can see positive events lead to temporary mood improvement. Furthermore, rejection sensitivity and increased appetite are other symptoms. The distinct nature of this condition means there are specific atypical antidepressants available as a form of treatment.

When fall and winter arrive, some people experience seasonal depression. This disorder will usually go away when it’s the spring and summer seasons.

woman in therapy for mdd

What Are Common Symptoms of Major Depression?

Everyone is susceptible to suffering from depression. However, there are risk factors that can increase the possibility of developing depression. These factors include medical conditions like seizure disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and chronic pain. Aside from such conditions and your medical history, situations like multiple adverse childhood experiences and neglect can also contribute to depressive feelings.

As with other mental health conditions, symptoms of depression can vary depending on the severity and type. Common symptoms include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, worry, and sadness (rather than being sad, children may be irritable when dealing with depression)
  • A change to their eating habits, which can result in weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping
  • Easily frustrated or irritable
  • Fatigue and a drop in energy levels
  • A lack of concentration, memories, or decision-making abilities
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
  • Physical problems ranging from headaches to sexual dysfunction
  • Not enjoying activities or hobbies that previously brought joy

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek treatment. This is where our IOS treatment can make a difference.

What Other Treatment Options Are Available for Major Depressive Disorder?

Fortunately, when it comes to mental health conditions, one of the most treatable is depression. Combination treatment is recommended in certain cases, so it can be wise to mix IOS with other depression treatment options. Regarding the latter, here are the other treatments available:


 The most obvious treatment option is when a mental health professional prescribes you with specialist medicine. When they prescribe medications, these are usually antidepressants. Antidepressant medications are available in various different forms, which can make it tricky to find the right one for your situation. Options include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO), and tricyclic antidepressants. A healthcare provider will be able to help you get the decision right.

Brain stimulation therapy

For those struggling with severe depression or psychotic symptoms from depression, one proven treatment method is brain stimulation therapy. This deep brain stimulation therapy takes on various different forms, including vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Lifestyle changes

Mood disorders like depression can potentially be improved with positive lifestyle changes. A healthy sleep routine, where you get the right number of hours in bed each night, can improve symptoms of depression. The same is applicable if you regularly exercise, stick to a healthy diet, and avoid consuming alcohol. Stress-reduction techniques – think meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness – can also help.

Sadly, some people do deal with treatment-resistant depression. This is where it seems like there are no solutions to getting this depression treated. However, if antidepressants or brain stimulation fail to work, it’s important to try different solution options. By going down different routes, such as IOS, it is possible you can find a treatment option that alleviates your depression symptoms.

What is the Prognosis of Major Depressive Disorder?

There are numerous factors that alter the prognosis of major depression disorder. These factors include the severity of the depression, its type, whether it is treated or not, and if there are any co-occurring conditions present. The latter includes everything from obsessive-compulsive disorder to drug abuse.

With accurate diagnosis and positive initial treatment, most people with depression are able to enjoy fulfilling, healthy lives. Keep in mind, however, that even if treatment is successful, there is still a chance depression can creep back and cause issues. That’s why it is vital you seek medical assistance straight away for early diagnosis. The quicker you receive help for this medical condition, the more likely you’ll be able to recover more effectively.

What if you don’t get your depression diagnosed? What if you don’t get treatment? This can lead to further issues. Your depression can become worse, lead to existing health conditions worsening, and increase the possibility of developing other health conditions.

If you are seeking a solution to your current depression, our treatment could make a difference. Get in touch today to sign up for our intensive outpatient program.

Contact Us Today To Find Out More

At our specialist intensive outpatient center, we can give you the help you need to treat your depressive disorder and symptoms in the right way with exceptional mental health treatment. Mental health treatment is crucial, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch, and we can start your recovery journey together.

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