With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things. -William Wordsworth
Clinical Depression, Major Depression, Major Depressive Disorder
This is the disorder most people are referring to when they use the term “depression”. Major or clinical depression is a serious mood disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness, a loss of interest or pleasure in favorite activities, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. These feelings impact the individual’s ability to handle daily activities, like eating, sleeping, or working.
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
Major Depression can block your sense of pleasure and joy in life, cause hopelessness, gloom, guilt, lack of energy, and mood swings. It is more than a passing mood, and someone cannot just “snap out of it.”
To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks, and include:
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Decreased energy or fatigue
Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Risks Factors for Clinical Depression
Research suggests a combination of factors may cause clinical depression; there are psychological, environmental, biological and genetic considerations.
Clinical Depression often begins in adulthood, and in older adults may occur in tandem with other serious medical conditions.
Specific risk factors for Clinical Depression include:
A history of depression in close relatives
Trauma, stress, or major life changes
Complex physical illnesses and medications
Treatments for Clinical Depression
Even the most severe cases of Clinical Depression can be treated, and treatment is most effective when it is started early. Clinical Depression can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Every individual is affected by clinical depression in their own way, and treatment must be customized to the individual. In other words, there is no single pre-defined depression treatment that works for everyone.
Psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as “talk therapy” or counseling, is a vital component of treating clinical depression. There are a variety of specific psychotherapeutic approaches that can be explored in the treatment of depression, including:
Medication, specifically antidepressants, may help improve the way the brain manages chemicals that control mood or stress. Every individual will react to various medications in their own way, and several different medications may be tried before finding one that improves symptoms with manageable side effects.
Get Help for Clinical Depression
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms and wish to seek treatment for clinical depression, please contact me for an evaluation.