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Clinical Depression: What You Need To Know

Clinical depressionis a mental disorder also known as a major depressive disorder and characterized by negative thoughts affecting the way people think, feel and act. Clinical depression is a serious illness that can take away your ability to hold down a job, function in social settings, or even get out of bed. People who are suffering from depression: struggle with sadness, have trouble taking part in the world, are fatigued, lose interest in sex, avoid social outings, have troubling concentrating, and suffer from feelings of hopelessness. Depression can occur due to: environmental stresses, drug and alcohol abuse, death of a loved one, genetic predisposition or may occur spontaneously with no identifiable trigger.

Besides major depressive disorder, clinical depression can refer to other forms of depression. Dysthmia is a milder form of depression but tends to go on indefinitely. People with dysthmia often feel gloomy and are unhappy and unexcited. Bipolar disorder is depression marked by periods of euphoria and periods of sadness with normal moods in between.

You are Not Alone

Depression is a common psychological problem. In fact, over 15 million American adults are diagnosed with a major depressive disorder each year. When adding in the numbers for bipolar disorder and other mood disorders the number jumps to over 20 million individuals; making up almost 10 percent of the population of the United States. Depression does not affect one specific demographic.People of any race, ethnicity, children, teenagers, elderly, men and women all suffer from depression.

Depression is not Grief

After suffering the death of a loved one grief is common and usually results in: periods of sadness, crying, unhappiness, irritation, trouble sleeping and isolation of once pleasurable activities. Though these symptoms of grief are similar to depression, the difference is what triggers these episodes. In grief, these events are triggered by memories and discussions of the deceased. Experts also agree that grief begins to lessen after 2 months and continues to decrease over time. However, grief can come and go as memories of a dead loved one are triggered. With clinical depression, these symptoms can come all at once and can last for months or even years. Unlike grief, depression rarely lets up and could result in: ongoing suicidal thoughts, delusions, extreme weight loss, hallucinations and inability to perform everyday activities.

Clinical Depression can be Successfully Treated

Treatment for clinical depression starts with a visit to mental health services for a proper diagnosis. Having an imbalance of certain brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters can cause depression. Antidepressant medications work to decrease or increase these brain chemicals and after a few weeks, patients will notice a change. In Cognitive-behavioral therapy, individuals learn to change negative thoughts and negative behavioral patterns associated with depression. With Interpersonal therapy, individuals deal with changing life roles that may have triggered depression. Depending on the severity of the depression and patient history, combining psychotherapy and antidepressant medications may be the best course of treatment.

You Do Not Have to Cope with Clinical Depression on Your Own.

Self diagnosis for depression should not be used in place of visiting a qualified mental health professional. Only they have the ability to properly diagnose and treat the depression. Individuals should give themselves time to recover and avoid making major life decisions while getting treatment. Forcing oneself to socialize instead of remaining isolated can work to prevent depression from taking over. Besides seeing a mental health professional counting on the support of family and friends can give those with depression a supportive community to rely on. For additional support, individuals can join communities and support groups.

You May Need to Help Your Loved One

Education is the first step to helping a loved one cope with clinical depression. By recognizing the symptoms of clinical depression, you can provide encouragement for someone you love to get necessary medical attention similar to those that need drug treatment, depression also needs treatment as well. Showing support will also let a loved one know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Encourage treatment by: helping create a low stress environment, offering reminders to attend therapy sessions, prompting to take prescribed medications, and watching out for warning signs of suicide. You can help a loved one get through clinical depression by: asking questions, being willing to listen, and remaining nonjudgmental.

Further Reading

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