You’re restless, anxious, and haven’t slept or eaten “normally” in months. You keep to yourself and feel sad all the time. All of these could be symptoms of clinical depression, which affects more than 17 million U.S. adults. If you suffer from any warning signs of depression, treatment could help.
What Is 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 can affect your behavior, body, eating habits, feelings, mood, thoughts, and many aspects of your daily life.
Causes And Risk Factors
Depression is triggered by a mix of biological, environmental, genetic, and psychological influencers. It can happen at any age but most often begins in adulthood and may be paired with another serious medical problem, like diabetes or cancer. These illnesses are often worse when combined with depression. Certain medications may lead to side effects that contribute to depression. Risk factors include personal or family history of depression, big life changes, trauma, or ongoing stress.
Types Of Depression
If you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, there are many whose symptoms can often be treated with psychotherapy or medicine like ketamine. The most well-known kinds of depression include:
- Major depressive disorder may be diagnosed when symptoms of depression occur on most days over at least two weeks.
- Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is a kind of depressed mood where the symptoms last for at least two years.
- Postpartum depression is a kind of depression more serious than something called the “baby blues” (which includes mild anxiety and depressive symptoms that go away a few weeks after delivery) that many women have after giving birth. It also can affect immediate family members.
- Psychotic depression happens when you have severe depression plus some kind of psychosis, like having delusions (disturbing false fixed beliefs) or hallucinations (where you hear or see distressing things that no one else can hear or see).
- Seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that starts during the months when there is less natural sunlight.
Symptoms Of Clinical Depression
- Moods of emptiness, despair, sadness, or tearfulness
- Outpourings of anger, irritability, or disappointment, even over trivial matters
- Lack of interest in something you used to enjoy doing
- Problems sleeping
- Fatigue and low energy, with even small tasks requiring extra effort
- Changes in appetite, leading to weight gain or loss
- Anxiety, tension, or restlessness
- Slowed speech, thought, or bodily movements
- Feelings of unimportance or guilt
- Obsession with self-blame or previous failures
- Problems thinking, concentrating, remembering, or decision making
- Frequent or persistent thoughts of death or suicide
- Mysterious physical difficulties, like back pain or headaches
If you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, symptoms can be serious enough to result in problems in daily activities, like work, school, social interactions, or relationships – all noticeable by others. It’s not unusual to feel miserable or sad without knowing why.
Depression signs in kids, teens, and older adults
In younger kids, symptoms may present as sadness, irritability, clinginess, fear, physical discomfort, refusing to attend school, or being underweight.
For teenagers, symptoms are mostly the same but also include anger, low performance at or skipping school, feeling misunderstood, high sensitivity, using alcohol or recreational drugs, sleep problems, self-harm, lack of interest in everyday activities, and avoiding social interactions.
Depression isn’t a normal part of growing older but does happen in older adults. Symptoms of clinical depression may include memory problems or personality changes, physical aches or pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of interest, and many others.
Fortunately, many symptoms can be treated with medications like ketamine.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis normally involves a three-step process:
- Physical examination, where a medical doctor will look for an underlying cause for your symptoms.
- Psychiatric assessment, where a mental healthcare provider will review your thoughts, feelings, and behavior as a trigger for depression. You’ll also be asked to provide a personal and family history of mental illness.
- Comparing symptoms to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, you and your healthcare provider can talk about different treatment options, which may include psychotherapy, self-help, support groups, antidepressants, or even ketamine infusion therapy.
Clinical depression is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people. The World Health Organization calls it a leading source of disability, and it can lead to other psychiatric and medical problems if the symptoms are left untreated. If you have long-term symptoms like sleep problems, contact us today to learn how we can help you find relief.