Clinical depression is one of several different mood affective disorders. It is a medical condition with psychological and physical symptoms. Clinical depression is also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, and unipolar depression/disorder. It is a serious illness that can last months and even years if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Non-clinical depression is more like being in a temporary “blue” mood and is a normal part of life. Those moods usually occur as a direct result of an experience such as losing your job or ending a relationship. It is natural for people to feel sad for a short period of time after experiencing certain situations. However, clinical depression does not always need a specific event or experience to exist and can likely be triggered by a traumatic, emotional event or other extreme stress factors in life. Clinical depression symptoms last beyond the typical two week period that situational depression usually does. The majority of people recover from situational depression within a few days or a few weeks. The symptoms of clinical depression do not go away in a short period of time and can increase in intensity with time eventually interfering with a person’s ability to function.
Clinical depression is treatable and 1 out of every 5 Americans has this common affliction. There is no need to suffer in silence or in shame. Negative stigma is based on ignorance and lack of information. Just like any other neurologically based illness, it is treated with medication temporarily to help the brain restore its natural chemical balance and with talk therapy to help undo the erroneous thinking patterns and behaviors caused by the disorder. Depending on the severity of the condition, the average time of cognitive behavioral therapy to treat this condition is three months. It is extremely important to get treatment for clinical depression because the symptoms can become overwhelming and can severally distort a person’s thoughts and emotions. Distorted thinking and emotions can include a sense of being in a black hole and not being able to climb out. There is a sense of looming doom that cannot be shaken and a feeling apathy that does not go away. Although these sensations feel very real to people suffering from clinical depression, they are actually symptoms caused by the neurological condition they have.
It is important to get treatment. Start with the family doctor who can provide a clinical depression screening and refer you to appropriate professionals for further treatment. Clinical depression is widely treated in the United States; 17 million Americans have been successfully treated. There is no reason to go undiagnosed and to ignore the symptoms. Clinical depression is not a sign of weakness or a sign of shame. It is a medical condition with psychological and physical symptoms and should be treated like any other illness.
Basic Symptoms of Clinical Depression:
Overwhelming Chronic Sadness: Chronic sadness that includes a feeling of hopelessness and emptiness. No matter how hard someone tries to control their negative thoughts, they are not able to and as a result he or she experiences crying spells brought on by no apparent reason.
Overwhelming Inappropriate Guilt: Severe clinical depression causes people to feel excessively guilty over minor things. The guilt is out of proportion with the situation and includes feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. They see this as a sign of weakness and become over-critical of themselves.
Extreme Irritability: People suffering from clinical depression experience an extreme sense of irritability that causes them to feel anxious, restless, and overly angry/enraged.
Cognitive Disruption: Trouble concentrating, trouble with decision making, and memory problems involving small details. This includes a sensation that your thought processes have slowed down in some way.
Body Aches and Pains: Clinical depression causes physical pains and aches such as stomach problems, headaches, and other aches and pains that do not go away with over the counter pain relievers.
Energy Loss: Clinical depression causes a feeling of fatigue or chronic tiredness causing people to feel as if their psychical abilities have slowed down.
Loss of Interest in Pleasure: Clinical depression causes people to lose interest in things; people and activities that once brought them pleasure or joy. This is a symptom based on the neurochemical malfunction in the brain. They lose interest in sex, social interactions and hobbies. Sometimes people will neglect their responsibilities and personal grooming during a major depressive episode.
Sleep Disruption: People with clinical depression experience the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. They also wake up too early or sleep too much.
Changes in Appetite: These changes include overeating or not eating enough. People can lose interest in food altogether or overcompensate with food by overeating to cope with depressive symptoms and feelings.
Suicidal Ideation: The most dangerous symptom of clinical depression is how the brain plays tricks on the individual causing him or her to idealize suicide as a viable option.