You may be suffering from clinical depression if you have been feeling down for more than a couple of weeks. A little information about this disorder will help you to understand your problem and face up to it.
This form of depression is very treatable and surprisingly common so don’t lose heart!
Clinical Depression – What is it?
There are different levels of depression varying from slight to severe. At one end (slight) there is a temporary feeling of unhappiness that passes after a short while. There are moderate forms of depression in the middle and at the other end of the scale, severe depression which lasts for a longer time, (maybe months or even years if not treated). Clinical depression is severe and may not be caused directly by events in your life. Because the causes may not be obvious, if you suffer from this form of depression you should seek help to understand why you are feeling like this and what you can do about it. Don’t try to battle this on your own as there is a lot of support to help you out there.
Other names for this kind of depression are “major depressive disorder”, and major or unipolar depression. It is called unipolar because there is one extreme negative set of feelings, usually hopelessness and not knowing what to do. This very different from other depressive disorders such as Bipolar Disorder which involves feelings changing from extremes of unhappiness to elation and back again. The main problem that goes with these awful feelings is that your daily life may be affected and you feel unable to cope. All the more reason to get help.
What are the symptoms?
To understand whether you have clinical depression, here is a brief description:
Have you had at least five of the following symptoms every day for a fourteen day period or more?
- Feeling extremely unhappy or depressed, perhaps wanting to cry.
- Loss of joy in daily activities and situations
- weight loss or weight gain and a change in your eating habits
- sleeping problems, either too much or too little sleep
- very low self esteem and confidence
- feeling tired all the time
- negative thoughts about your life and even thoughts of suicide
- problems concentrating or thinking logically, inability to make decisions
- feeling irritable
- explosions of anger or frustration
- lack of interest in sex
If the answer is, you have had at least five of these symptoms for at least fourteen days then you are suffering from clinical depression. Time to take action!
- If you have Clinical Depression you can get support and help and you do not have to suffer alone – you need help to be cured!
- It may affect any age or race, children, teenagers, middle aged or the elderly.
- It may lead to suicide so it is serious
- Most people can be cured by a combination of medication and psychotherapy or counselling so there is real hope!
- It really is not so uncommon. It is estimated that about ten percent of adults face depression at some point in their life so don!t be afraid to admit you may be depressed.
- Last year it is thought that approximately 16 million Americans suffered from depression at least once
- For adults twice as many women as men suffer.
- The most common age range affected is between 25 and 44.
- It should be taken very seriously because it has been estimated that about 15% commit suicide
- 65% of sufferers recover and do not have any further episodes of major depression again
- 80% of those seeking help feel much better within one to two months
Note that Clinical Depression is not just to do with moods but may actually affect how you cope with life. It can prevent you from dealing with situations in daily life. Your concentration, memory and ability to make decisions can be impaired severely. More than half of people who suffer from this debilitating disease never seek any help and just put up with this awful illness! Your first step should be to go see a doctor.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from clinical depression than men, why is not known. Many people believe that it may be to do with the stigma of depression and that men may be more likely to hide their feelings and admit to being depressed. Read more about the causes of depression.
Another reason why women appear to suffer more from depression may be because of hormonal changes and pregnancy related issues. The baby blues is a well-known phrase but the real danger is postpartum depression which affects many women shortly after giving birth. Also, as more women work these days women are under more stress to manage both work and family. This added strain may also cause depression as they struggle to deal with their responsibilities.
Clinical depression affects one in five people at some time in their life.
Please do something about it and seek advice if you think you suffer from clinical depression because most suicides result from people not seeking treatment.
Can major depression be prevented?
This question can only be partly answered because some people may be genetically prone to depressive episodes. Even if this is the case there are many things that you can do to make depression less likely. Eating a healthy diet including fish, fruit and vegetables can help as can regular exercise. Socialising with friends is also an important factor in helping yourself avoid deep depression. Loneliness is one of the main causes of major depression and so it is important not to distance yourself from others.
The problems and challenges of life affect everyone and it is inevitable that certain negative events will upset you and could cause you to feel depressed. Often depression strikes gradually and slowly builds up so it can be difficult to realise you are depressed. Others may see it but you may not.
Another cause is trauma, which could come from an accident or a major change in life or even abuse. Remember that there are many forms of abuse both physical and emotional and this can affect you for the whole of your life if you allow it. If abuse is the problem you should definitely seek professional help, don’t fight alone!
With or without professional help this is something worth getting and highly recommended:
The Uncommon Knowledge Depression Program – beat depression and learn how to live your life depression-free!
#1 A Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety and Clinical Depression – a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression.