Almost everyone experiences some form of depression in their life. Clinical depression, also known as major depression, is generally described as severe depression the requires the intervention of a mental health professional. There are many different types of depression ranging from mild to severe, and within each type, the symptoms, their duration and intensity, will all vary from one person to the next. Mild forms of depression can have little impact on someone’s life and can sometimes quickly disappear after a short period of time. There is also Bipolar Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Postpartum Depression, Chronic Depression, Atypical Depression, and Psychotic Depression.
Clinical depression is much more than feeling down, or having the blues, which is something that we all experience at times. Someone who is clinically depressed cannot easily escape their low mood. It is a depressed state that persists for more than a couple of weeks and interferes with a person’s normal routines on a daily basis, typically affecting their eating and sleeping patterns, their relationships, work, or their ability to enjoy activities they once enjoyed. If it is not due to bereavement (loss of a loved one), or alcohol or substance abuse then clinical depression is often diagnosed. In almost all cases, some type of intervention is necessary in order to help someone with clinical depression, or major depression get back to normal. Without treatment, severe depression could go on without end.
Clinical Depression | Major Depression | Severe Depression | Common Symptoms
Clinical depression changes an individual quite significantly. The most common symptoms are continual feelings of sadness, irritability, sleep disturbance, low appetite, loss of energy, slow movement(psychomotor retardation), agitation, withdrawal or isolation, guilt feelings, feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness, suicidal thoughts and attempts, persistent physical complications without any possible physical cause (psychosomatic symptoms).
Clinical Depression | Major Depression | Severe Depression | Causes
Clinical depression is a complex form of depression which may occur due to biological, psychological, and/or social factors. No specific cause has ever been discovered, as it is generally a mixture of factors, and not everyone who has these factors becomes clinically depressed. Often times a chemical imbalance in the brain plays the key role in the formation of major depression. Three neurotransmitters – dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are involved in the process. Another common cause involves genetic predisposition. Many studies have found that an individual is at higher risk for developing major depression if he or she has a family history of severe depression.
Clinical Depression | Major Depression | Severe Depression | Treatment Options
Clinical depression generally requires the use of anti-depressants for some period of time. Usually for six months, and sometimes longer. It can sometimes take several weeks for medication to take effect so it is important to continue with the medication even if there is no initial improvement. There are several types of antidepressants and the effect of medication, will sometimes vary greatly. If there are significant side effects or if there is no improvement after six weeks, then the prescriber (Psychiatrist or PCP) may prescribe another medication that best suits the individual. Antidepressants should never be discontinued suddenly as this can cause harmful reactions. It is generally necessary to reduce the dose over a period of time under the guidance of a qualified physician or mental health profession.
Talk therapy and counseling may be an option for mild to moderate depression, and many people find this type of intervention extremely effective. Talk therapy can usually help in changing negative thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to the depression. Looking at issues more in depth, and talking through problems can provide new insights and possible coping skills.
There is no single cause of clinical depression and no scientific way of knowing who will develop it. It is known that some groups of people appear to be at higher risk of becoming clinically depressed than others. These tend to be the long-term sick and disabled, the socially isolated, the unemployed, and single parents. Low levels of neurotransmitters such as essential fatty acids, and serotonin are sometimes found in people who are depressed suggesting biological factors and genetics as playing a role in major depression. At times, how we view ourselves or the way we view the world can impact our perception and in turn trigger depression. It is very important to seek advice if severe depression begins to affect your daily life. Regardless of its cause, please remember that help is always available. Clinical depression can and will be treated to help your life return to normal.
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