Though often forgotten by the nursing community and the medical community in general, major depressive disorder is important to address for several reasons. Firstly, it is the most common mental disorder among older adults residing in the United States, as well as worldwide. It is also associated with a handful of other debilitating impairments related to physical and psychiatric health that may be considered more serious. These side effects often force major depressive disorder to take a backseat when a patient is being diagnosed; a doctor may not notice the symptoms. If nurses are trained to notice the signs, the related symptoms can be accounted for and treated through the treatment of MDD. In 10% of cases, early mortality can even be avoided if the nurse is educated properly concerning the disorder . This paper analyzes the major depressive disorder among adults as an important symptom that the nurse should be able to recognize and deal with it.
The article "Major Depressive Disorder in Vulnerable Groups of Adults, Their Course and Treatment, and Psychiatric Comorbidity" (Chou & Cheung, 2013) outlines the important statistics on socioeconomic factors associated with major depressive disorder. The results show that gender and marital status are two the most important characteristics associated with MDD. Statistics from the article shows that women are almost at twice higher risk than men (3.64% vs. 2.00%, respectively) (Chou & Cheung, 2013). In addition, patients who have a spouse, have a significantly lower risk of being subjected to MDD (1,85% for married) than divorced (3.5%) or widowed people (4,9%) (Chou & Cheung, 2013). Another important factor is income. An individual with the lowest income ($ 0 - $ 19.999) is more likely to experience MDD (3.44%) and suffer from it longer than an individual with higher income ($ 20.000 and more with a 1.94% risk) (Chou & Cheung, 2013). However, the risk of MDD almost did not change based on age, race, ethnicity, education or other contributing factors. All of these factors are the signs and symptoms for a nurse to take down on a chart. A doctor, who is looking for a root cause of an issue, may gloss over them without considered MDD as something to be concerned about. An educated mental health nurse should understand that MDD is a serious underlying problem, and can alert a physician to the issue.
The article showed the validity behind educating the nursing ranks on this condition. Lives can literally be saved if nurses are aware of the signs and symptoms associated with the disorder. However, there were some weaknesses associated with the article and its facts. For example, data was not collected firsthand, but from a data sample conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, wherein resident civilians were assessed for signs of major depressive disorder (Chou & Cheung, 2013). Not only was some data collected secondhand, but also the design of this study was not included in the documentation, disallowing any true assessment of the results. That is why I would recommend this article for colleagues only as a source of important but general knowledge.
Nevertheless, talking about a nurse practice, the information provided in the article is a valuable vone. Knowing the most vulnerable categories of patients, nurses should pay more attention to risk categories (women, widowed and divorced people). In fact, MDD can be prevented or minimized if nurses recognize the symptoms early. Speaking of examples from practice, older people acquire MDD as a consequence of the illness complications, which they might get cured only after a long time, or never at all. One of the most striking examples is a reduction in sensitivity or incapacity of the hands / feet after a stroke. Such patients often feel helpless and useless to society. However, if the patient's spouse makes many efforts to resolve this incapacity and constantly convinces partner that he or she is needed and that he would soon recover fully, a patient has a much better chance to recover without the acquisition of MDD. In fact, each case of stroke, accompanied by a certain incapacity, could be a good confirmation of the statistics provided in the article.
Chou, K. L., & Cheung, K. C. K. (2013). Major depressive disorder in vulnerable groups of older adults, their course and treatment, and psychiatric comorbidity. Depression and anxiety, 30(6), 528-537.