What Is Clinical Depression?
Clinical Depression is a major depressive disorder. It is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel.
Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.
It affects the way you think and how you act.
Fortunately, it is also treatable.
Clinical Depression causes feelings of
- Loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and it could decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
What Are Clinical Depression Symptoms?
It depends, the symptoms could vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing)
- Slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression and it could last for years.
Medical conditions could mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes such as;
- Thyroid problems.
- Brain tumour.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Loss of loved one.
Clinical Depression affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year.
Clinical Depression affects 1 in 6 people (16.6%) at some time in their life. Clinical Depression could appear at any time, but on average, it usually first appears during the late teens to mid-20s.
Women are more prone to experience depression than men.
Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a clinical depression episode during their lifetime.
Risk Factors for Depression
Depression can affect anyone at anytime. Even if a person appears to live in comparatively in an ideal circumstance.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress.
- People who are generally pessimistic are more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure may make some people more vulnerable to depression, especially those who;
How Is Clinical Depression Treated?
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders.
Between 80 % to 90 % of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment.
Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and possibly a physical examination to ascertain if it is Clinical Depression and not a physical ailment.
A physical exam could include a blood test to ensure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem.
The evaluation is to identify specific symptoms to arrive at a diagnosis and plan a course of action;
- Medical History.
- Family History.
- Cultural Factors.
- Environmental factors.
Medication: Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment.
Antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry.
These medications are not sedatives or tranquillizers.
They are not habit-forming.
Antidepressant are medications which have no stimulating effect on people who are not experiencing depression.
Antidepressants start taking effect within or after a fortnight but they will not fully benefit for two to three months.
If a patient feels little or no improvement after several weeks, their psychiatrist can alter the dose of the medication or add or substitute to another suitable antidepressant.
If the medication does not work or you notice side effects, it is important to let your doctor know immediately.
Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after symptoms have improved.
Prolonged treatment could be harmful and hence, Longer-term maintenance treatment ought to be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes for certain people at high risk.
This therapy is useful as a single therapy, it is considered as a “talk therapy,” is sometimes used for treatment of mild depression.
This therapy is useful for moderate to severe depression where psychotherapy is often used in along with antidepressant medications.
It could be used along with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT is a form of therapy focused on the present and problem solving. CBT helps a person to recognize distorted thinking and then change behaviours and thinking.
Psychotherapy may involve a one to one basis or be involved in a group. For example, the group could be
- Family Therapy which can help address issues within these close relationships.
- Couples Therapy which can help address issues within these close relationships.
- Group therapy involves people with similar illnesses.
Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or much longer. In many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10 to 15 sessions.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
This is a medical treatment most commonly used for patients with severe major depression or bipolar disorder who have not responded to other treatments.
It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anaesthesia.
A patient typically receives 6-12 weeks of ECT which is performed two to three times a week.
ECT has been used since the 1940s, and many years of research have led to major improvements. It is usually managed by a team of trained medical professionals including a psychiatrist, an anaesthesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant.
Self-help and Coping
There are self help remedies to reduce the symptoms of depression.
For many people, regular exercise such as yoga helps create positive feeling and improves the mood.
Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis.
Eating a healthy balanced diet and avoiding alcohol (a depressant) and lowering caffeine (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) intake can also help reduce symptoms of depression.
Depression is a real illness and help is available.
Correct diagnosis and treatment will improve the vast majority of people with depression to overcome it.
Don’t delay experiencing symptoms of depression, you must first see your family physician or psychiatrist.
It is your right to request a thorough evaluation. This is a start to addressing mental health needs.
- Peripartum depression (postpartum depression)
- Seasonal depression (SAD (seasonal affective disorder))
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Bipolar disorders
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Fifth edition. 2013.
- National Institute of Mental Health. (Data from 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.)
- Kessler, RC, et al. Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):593602.
- U.K. NHS Clinical Depression
Where Can You Get Help?
Anxiety UK. Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm).
Phone 01 46 21 46 46 every day from 3-11 pm or “callsoshelp” via Skype
Phone +91 96 71 21 099 (Open 24*7)
Homeless person in the Greater Chennai Area who you suspect is suffering from mental illness?
Contact ADAA works to prevent, treat and cure anxiety
ADAA is an international non profit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depressive, obsessive-compulsive, and trauma-related disorders through education, practice, and research.
8701 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
The Belgian non-profit Community Help Service (CHS) provides emotional and practical support to people who find it easier to use English than one of the official languages. CHS operates a confidential 24/7 information and crisis telephone helpline. Community Help Service (CHS) is a non-profit organisation established in 1971 as a resource for the English-speaking expatriate population of Belgium.
Book an appointment phone 02 647 67 80
Phone help line 02 648 40 14 24/7
Phone 02 647 67 80 The Community Help Service Office is open to receive your calls 10:00 – 16:00, Monday – Friday.
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