Major Depressive Disorder

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder, or major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes.

How Can a Service Dog Assist With Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms?


Service Dog Task

Type of Task

Apathy Tactile stimulation Work and/or physical
Initiate activity (play or walks) Work and/or physical
Hypersomnia  Wake up handler Physical and work
Feelings of isolation Tactile stimulation Work and/or physical
Initiate activity outside the home Work
Sadness or tearfulness Deep pressure stimulation Physical
Tactile stimulation Physical
Initiate activity Work and/or physical
Insomnia Stay with and focus on handler Work
Suicidal ideation Ground handler Work
Deep pressure stimulation Physical
Self-mutilation Interrupt by alerting or tactile stimulation Work
Ground handler Work
Psychomotor retardation Guide handler using harness or leash Physical
Memory loss Remind to take medication Physical
Find keys or telephone Physical
Disorganization Remind handler to perform daily routines Work