What Is Clinical Depression
When we refer to depression in the following pages, we are talking about “clinical depression.” Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Individuals with clinical depression are unable to function as they used to. Often they have lost interest in activities that were once enjoyable to them, and feel sad and hopeless for extended periods of time. Clinical depression is not the same as feeling sad or depressed for a few days and then feeling better. It can affect your body, mood, thoughts, and behavior. It can change your eating habits, how you feel and think, your ability to work and study, and how you interact with people. People who suffer from clinical depression often report that they “don’t feel like themselves anymore.”
Clinical depression is not a sign of personal weakness, or a condition that can be willed away. Clinically depressed people cannot “pull themselves together” and get better. In fact, clinical depression often interferes with a person’s ability or wish to get help. Clinical depression is a serious illness that lasts for weeks, months and sometimes years. It may even influence someone to contemplate or attempt suicide.
People of all ages, genders, ethnicities, cultures, and religions can suffer from clinical depression. Each year it affects over 17 million American men and women . While clinical depression is common, it is frequently unrecognized and untreated.
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
Depression And Drugs And Alcohol
“Drowning your sorrows” is actually a bad idea when it comes to depression. Alcohol is categorised as a “strong depressant” which can make depression worse, and drinking or taking drugs to cope can lead to a downward spiral by having a negative affect on other parts of your life.
There’s evidence that cannabis can cause depression, particularly in teenagers, even if it helps you relax.
When To Seek Medical Care For Depression
If you feel that you are depressed, you may wish to talk about your feelings with a family member or a close friend. Communication is one of the keys to early diagnosis and treatment. People close to you may have felt you were depressed. With their encouragement, you should call your health care provider.
If you feel someone else is depressed, talk to them:
- You may notice a person showing the signs of depression mentioned under Symptoms. If you observe feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, hopelessness, or any warning signs that the individual is having suicidal thoughts, contact a health-care provider immediately.
- With mild or moderately severe symptoms of short duration , it may be reasonable to contact a health-care provider for an appointment.
- It is often helpful to accompany a family member or friend to the medical office and offer support as needed.
- If the person has severe symptoms, cannot care for himself or herself, or is threatening to harm himself or herself, seek immediate treatment in a hospital emergency department.
After you are diagnosed with depression, your health-care provider will usually want you to be in frequent contact. You may need to contact your primary-care provider, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental-health professional if you
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Thoughts Of Death Or Suicide
A person with depression may think more about death and dying. They may also think about suicide and how they could end their life. These thoughts are called suicide ideation.
Sometimes, a person may tell others about these thoughts. If someone is talking about death or suicide, this may be their way of asking for help, and it is vital to seek assistance.
In severe cases of depression, a person may hurt themselves, or self-harm.
Depression is a common but serious condition that can be life threatening. Not every person who thinks about suicide will attempt it. However, if someone mentions suicide, either contact a doctor or help them seek urgent medical care.
What Are Symptoms And Signs Of Depression
Clinical depression is not something you feel for a day or two before feeling better. In true depressive illnesses, the symptoms last weeks, months, or sometimes years if you don’t seek treatment. If you are depressed, you are often unable to perform daily activities. You may not care enough to get out of bed or get dressed, much less work, do errands, or socialize.
- Adults: You may be said to be suffering from a major depressive episode if you have a depressed mood for at least 2 weeks and have at least 5 of the following clinical symptoms:
- Feeling sad or blue
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Men and women sometimes show depression differently. Specifically, men are more likely to experience irritability, sleep problems, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities they liked previously as a result of depression whereas women tend to have overt sadness and feelings of worthlessness and guilt when depressed. For people who tend to suffer from an increase in appetite, tiredness, and the tendency to sleep , carbohydrate craving, sometimes specifically for chocolate, may occur. That has been found to sometimes be an indication that the person tends to suffer from irritability and anxiety in addition to depression.
Since symptoms of depression tend to be more physical in elderly individuals compared to younger individuals, this puts these individuals at risk for having their depressive symptoms erroneously attributed to medical problems.
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Learn More About Depression
Depression can make you feel alone but you have lots of company. Major depressive disorder , the clinical term for depression, is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting an estimated 350 million people in all age groups. You should know that depression isnt the same as being sad. Its normal to feel blue or unmotivated from time to time, but depression is more constant. And, it has a real, biological basis. For more information about depression, including the causes, symptoms, and available treatments read our comprehensive overview Tell Me All I Need to Know about Depression.
Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.
The above quiz is based on the Patient Health Questionnaire . If you think you may be suffering from Depression and/or you are experiencing a mental health crisis, we strongly suggest that you reach out to to a qualified mental health professional. To aid in your search please consider our directory of emergency mental health resources.
Increased Fatigue And Sleep Problems
Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.
Depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. They can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.
Men are also less likely than women to recognize depression or seek treatment for it.
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When Should I Seek Help
Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away.
It’s important to understand that feeling depressed doesn’t mean you have depression. That condition involves not only changes in mood, but also changes in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, and motivation.
If you have physical symptoms like these and find yourself feeling depressed much of the time for days or weeks, see your doctor.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Depression
Non-neuroleptic mood-stabilizer medications are also sometimes used with an antidepressant to treat people with unipolar depression who do not improve after receiving trials of different antidepressants and in addition to or instead of an antidepressant in those who suffer from bipolar disorder. Examples of non-neuroleptic mood stabilizers include:
Of the non-neuroleptic mood stabilizers, Lamictal seems to be unique in its ability to also treat unipolar depression effectively by itself as well as in addition to an antidepressant.
The MAOIs are not used as often since the introduction of the SSRIs. Because of interactions with some anti-depression medications and specific foods, the MAOIs may not be taken with many other types of medication and some types of foods that are high in tyramine must be avoided as well. Examples of MAOIs include:
One-half to two-thirds of people who take antidepressant medications get better. It may take anywhere from one to six weeks of taking medication at its effective dose to start feeling better. Don’t give up taking the medication if you don’t feel better right away. Your doctor will see you again during this period to see if your body is tolerating the medication and if your symptoms are better. If they are not, he or she may adjust your dose or prescribe a different medication.
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Researchers Have Actually Determined Some Genetics That Can Make An Individual At Risk To Clinical Depression Clinical Depression Has Actually Additionally Been Connected To The Components Of The Mind That Influence Feelings And Also Memory
Treating clinical depression
Do you have the signs of clinical depression, or do you understand somebody that does?
Treatment is readily available, and also it can assist you really feel a whole lot far better. When you speak to an expert, clinical depression can be treated with treatment. Drugs like antidepressants can additionally assist you take care of clinical depression and also tension. You can additionally talk with somebody actually near you regarding exactly how you are really feeling.
The sensation of obtaining it off your upper body will certainly make you really feel a whole lot far better, and also you may obtain some great recommendations.
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Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares what it means to have ‘existential depression,’ featuring Melissa & Doug’s co-founder Melissa Bernstein.
Symptoms of depression can occur along a spectrum both in duration and severity. Mild depression can occur during periods of stress but resolve with time and may not require any specific treatment. Moderate to severe depression causes chronic symptoms and usually requires at least one form of treatment, if not multiple treatments.
Generally speaking, severe depression requires some type of treatment to find some relief. Additionally, depression severity can change over time, growing increasingly worse or alternating between mild and severe during the same depressive episode.
If someone has severe depression, they may self-harm, have suicidal thoughts, or be at risk for attempting suicide. If you are severely depressed, help is available to help you manage your symptoms and ensure your safety and well-being.
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Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed.
This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse. If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
Dealing With What Are The Signs For Clinical Depression
People with symptoms of depression need to consider looking for assistance from a liked one or a medical care expert, such as a medical professional or therapist. Although everyone really feels tired every now and then, individuals who have serious or relentless exhaustion particularly what are the signs for clinical depression if it comes with other symptoms may have concealed depression. The Anxiety and Depression Organization of America record that in the USA, around 1 in 5 individuals with anxiousness or a mood condition such as depression likewise have an alcohol or substance make use of problem.
A person that has depression has symptoms virtually every day, throughout the day, for 2 weeks or longer. There are other forms of depression that may have much less severe symptoms. All the various kinds of depression share the very same common reasons and typically the very same therapies. Yet it can have unexpected effects, like deteriorating what are the signs for clinical depression birth control pills or heart medicine. It can additionally connect terribly with some antidepressants, bring about a potentially serious increase of serotonin. This is why its so crucial to tell your healthcare experts regarding whatever you take as well as utilize, whether a supplement or medication.
Which Lab Tests Can Help Make The Depression Diagnosis
After reviewing the information from your appointment, including the signs and symptoms, patient history, family history, and physician exam, your doctor may ask for some lab tests to rule out a physical condition that may be causing your symptoms. Certain viruses, medicines, hormonal or vitamin deficiencies, and illnesses can cause depression-like symptoms. Your doctor will also want to review all medications youâre taking as well as the alcohol or recreational drugs you may be using.
Helping A Suicidal Friend Or Relative
If you see any of the above warning signs:
- get professional help for the person
- let them know they’re not alone and that you care about them
- offer your support in finding other solutions to their problems
If you feel there is an immediate danger, stay with the person or have someone else stay with them, and remove all available means of committing suicide, such as medication.
Over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers can be just as dangerous as prescription medication.
Also, remove sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals such as bleach.
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