When Was MDD Created?

Imagine a world without smartphones, social media, and instant communication. It’s hard to fathom, right? Well, believe it or not, there was a time when our lives were not dominated by screens. In fact, the concept of Mobile Device Dependency (MDD) is a relatively new phenomenon, born out of the rapid advancements in technology over the past couple of decades. But when exactly was MDD created, and how has it shaped our lives? Let’s take a journey through time and explore the origins of this modern digital addiction.

Overview of MDD

Definition of MDD

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression, is a mental health condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. MDD significantly impacts a person’s daily life, impairing their ability to function and causing emotional, cognitive, and physical symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of MDD

The signs and symptoms of MDD vary from person to person but commonly include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or oversleeping
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

If you are experiencing several of these symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, it is important to seek professional help.

Prevalence of MDD

Major Depressive Disorder is a widespread mental health condition, affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), MDD is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with an estimated 264 million individuals affected. Women are more likely to experience MDD than men, and the disorder can emerge at any point in a person’s life, although it often first appears during adolescence or early adulthood.

Historical Background of MDD

Early theories on depression

The understanding of depression has evolved over time, with early theories attributing it to imbalances in bodily fluids or disturbances in the brain. In ancient civilizations, depression was often considered a result of demonic possession or divine punishment. As scientific advancements were made, psychological and sociological factors began to be recognized as contributing to depression.

Development of diagnostic criteria for MDD

The development of specific criteria to diagnose Major Depressive Disorder marked a significant step forward in understanding and treating depression. In the mid-20th century, mental health professionals recognized the need for a standardized approach to diagnosis. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), became the reference guide for mental health professionals worldwide.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

Introduction to DSM

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a comprehensive handbook that classifies and describes mental health disorders. It serves as the primary resource for clinicians, researchers, and policymakers in the field of psychiatry.

Inclusion of MDD in DSM

Major Depressive Disorder has been included in every edition of the DSM since its inception. Its inclusion reflects the recognition of depression as a significant mental health condition that warrants attention and treatment. The DSM provides criteria for diagnosing MDD, which assists clinicians in making accurate and standardized diagnoses.

Evolution of the DSM Criteria for MDD

DSM-I (1952)

The first edition of the DSM, published in 1952, included the category of “Depressive Reaction” to describe what is now known as Major Depressive Disorder. The diagnostic criteria were relatively broad and did not differentiate between different types of depressive disorders.

DSM-II (1968)

The second edition of the DSM, released in 1968, introduced the term “Depressive Neurosis” as a diagnostic category. This edition further refined the diagnostic criteria by separating endogenous and reactive depression.

DSM-III (1980)

The third edition of the DSM, published in 1980, marked a major shift in the classification and diagnosis of mental disorders. It introduced the term “Major Depressive Disorder” as a replacement for the previous terminology and presented a set of specific diagnostic criteria, including criteria for single and recurrent episodes.

DSM-III-R (1987)

The revised third edition of the DSM, released in 1987, made minor revisions to the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. It clarified the duration and severity requirements for diagnosis and included additional specifiers to describe variations in symptom presentation.

DSM-IV (1994)

The fourth edition of the DSM, published in 1994, maintained the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder introduced in the DSM-III-R. It presented a more detailed description of symptoms and provided further guidance for clinicians in making accurate diagnoses.

DSM-IV-TR (2000)

The text revision of the fourth edition of the DSM, published in 2000, made minor updates and clarifications to the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. These revisions did not introduce significant changes to the understanding or diagnosis of MDD.

DSM-5 (2013)

The fifth and current edition of the DSM, released in 2013, introduced several changes in the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. It eliminated the bereavement exclusion criterion, allowing for the diagnosis of MDD in individuals experiencing depressive symptoms following the loss of a loved one. The DSM-5 also introduced several specifiers to describe the severity, episode type, and presence of psychotic or anxious features.

Development of Treatment Approaches for MDD

Early treatment methods for depression

Throughout history, various treatment approaches have been used to address depression. In ancient times, religious rituals, herbs, and spiritual practices were employed. As our understanding of depression grew, psychoanalytic approaches, such as the “talking cure” pioneered by Sigmund Freud, gained prominence. However, it was not until the mid-20th century that targeted and evidence-based treatments for depression emerged.

Antidepressant medications

In the 1950s, the discovery of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) revolutionized the treatment of depression. These medications increased the availability of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, leading to improved mood and reduced depressive symptoms. Over the years, newer classes of antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been developed and prescribed to individuals with MDD.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, has long been recognized as an effective treatment for depression. Different therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and psychodynamic therapy, help individuals explore their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to find new coping strategies, challenge negative thinking patterns, and improve overall well-being. Psychotherapy can be used as a standalone treatment for mild to moderate depression or in combination with medication for severe cases.

Advancements in treatment approaches

In recent years, innovative treatment approaches have emerged to address treatment-resistant depression or cases where the standard treatments have not yielded the desired results. These include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and ketamine infusion therapy. These interventions have shown promising results in providing relief for individuals who have not responded to traditional treatments. Ongoing research continues to explore new and more effective treatment options for MDD.

MDD Research and Studies

Early research on MDD

Research on Major Depressive Disorder has been ongoing for decades. Early studies aimed to understand the etiology and underlying mechanisms of depression. They explored various factors, including genetic predisposition, neurochemistry, and environmental influences. These studies laid the foundation for subsequent research and contributed to the development of targeted interventions.

Landmark studies in MDD

Several landmark studies have significantly advanced our understanding of Major Depressive Disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health’s Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program (TDCRP) in the 1980s compared the effectiveness of different treatments for depression, demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications. The Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study conducted in the early 2000s examined treatment strategies for those who do not respond to initial interventions, shedding light on the management of treatment-resistant depression.

Impact of MDD on Society

Economic burden of MDD

Major Depressive Disorder poses a substantial economic burden on society. The costs associated with MDD include direct healthcare expenses, such as hospitalizations and treatment, as well as indirect costs related to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and disability. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the economic burden of MDD in the United States alone was estimated to be $210.5 billion in 2010.

Social stigma and discrimination

Individuals with MDD often face social stigma and discrimination due to misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding mental health. This stigma can lead to individuals feeling ashamed, isolated, and reluctant to seek help. It is crucial to challenge these attitudes and provide education to promote acceptance, empathy, and support for those affected by MDD.

Efforts to raise awareness and reduce stigma

Numerous organizations, advocacy groups, and mental health professionals are working tirelessly to raise awareness about Major Depressive Disorder and reduce the stigma associated with it. Through public campaigns, educational initiatives, and community outreach, these efforts aim to increase understanding, encourage empathy, and promote early intervention and appropriate support for individuals living with MDD.

Current Challenges and Future Directions

Improving diagnostic accuracy

While the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder have evolved over time, there is ongoing research focused on enhancing the accuracy of diagnosis. Efforts are being made to identify specific biomarkers, genetic factors, and psychosocial markers that can aid in diagnosing MDD objectively. This research holds the potential to improve early detection and individualized treatment approaches.

Personalized treatment approaches

The field of mental health is increasingly recognizing the importance of personalized or precision medicine for mental disorders like MDD. Research is exploring the individual variability in response to different treatment modalities, enabling clinicians to tailor interventions to the specific needs and characteristics of each person. Personalized treatment approaches have the potential to optimize outcomes and minimize side effects.

Research on novel interventions

Innovative approaches for treating MDD are under investigation, including the use of new medications, non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, and psychedelic-assisted therapy. These emerging modalities hold promise for individuals who have not responded to traditional treatments or those seeking alternatives to conventional approaches. However, further research is needed to establish their safety, efficacy, and long-term effects.


In conclusion, Major Depressive Disorder has been recognized as a significant mental health condition throughout history. The development of the DSM and its subsequent editions have played a pivotal role in standardizing the diagnosis of MDD. Treatment approaches, including medications, psychotherapy, and emerging interventions, offer hope for individuals living with this disorder. Ongoing research and efforts to reduce stigma and raise awareness are essential for improving outcomes and providing necessary support for individuals affected by MDD. Continued dedication to understanding, treating, and supporting those with Major Depressive Disorder is paramount to create a society where mental health is prioritized and individuals can lead fulfilling lives.