Getting the blues is normal. While feelings of sadness are not always welcome, expressing these emotions is a sign of a healthy emotional spectrum. However, there’s a big difference between feeling down and clinical depression.
Clinical depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder, is the most severe type of depression. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 20 million adults in the US live with clinical depression, so you are not alone in dealing with this.
If you’re interested in learning more about what makes clinical depression different and how you can recognize it, keep reading.
What is clinical depression?
Having bouts of depression does not necessarily mean you live with clinical depression. A major depressive episode can happen once or several times over the course of your life. Clinical depression is marked by overwhelming thoughts of hopelessness, fatigue, and even suicidal thoughts.
These symptoms must be present every day for two weeks for it to be considered clinical depression. While it is not a guarantee, having one clinical depression episode in your life makes you more prone to having another at some point. From here, you can begin to create a treatment plan to cope with your major depression.
Recognizing the signs
Understanding the signs of clinical depression is key when it comes to treatment. If you have had a previous episode of major depression, being able to recognize the signs of another episode is incredibly beneficial. Once you can do this, you’ll be able to alert your doctor and close friends or family.
Some of the common symptoms of clinical depression include:
- Lack of interest: One of the first signs of a depressive episode is a lack of interest in activities that usually bring you happiness. If you suddenly have no desire to read the book series you’ve been working through or talking to your friends no longer brings you joy, it is likely an indicator of a depressive episode.
- Problems with sleep: Sleeping too much and sleeping too little are both symptoms of depression. Getting the proper amount of sleep is important not only for your physical body but also for your mental health.
- Appetite changes: Weight loss or gain goes hand in hand with symptoms of a major depressive episode. Binge eating or refusal to eat are both common signs that you may be going through a bout of clinical depression.
- Restlessness: Having racing thoughts or feeling agitated and restless are both common signs of a depressive episode.
All of these symptoms, including feelings of worthlessness or suicidal thoughts, are all indicators of a major depressive episode. If these thoughts or feelings are consistent and persistent, it could be a sign of clinical depression.
Treating clinical depression
The good news is that this condition is treatable. With a combination of medication and therapy, your symptoms will likely be able to be mitigated. Talking with a doctor can help you to stay on top of your feelings of depression so that you do not feel overwhelmed and alone.
In addition to speaking with a doctor, it’s important to remain connected to your loved ones. While depression might make you want to withdraw from friends and family, maintaining a strong relationship will help you feel more secure and confident in yourself. This sense of self will help you battle back against your depression.
If you are ready to get help with your depression, please do not wait to reach out to our office. We are here to help you get back to living a healthy and happy life. Visit our contact page to get in touch with us.