Clinical Depression Signs & Symptoms
Everyone has felt sad now and then, but that’s much different from clinical depression, which affects your feelings, thoughts, and actions to the point where day-to-day activity may be affected. It is diagnosed by your medical doctor and can occur for many reasons, but it’s treatable with counseling and/or medication.
You can’t snap out of it, or just pull yourself together. There are organic reasons for clinical depression. Some causes include hormonal or brain chemistry imbalances, and it may be genetic. Clinical depression is not the fault of the person, it’s a medical disease. What are the symptoms of clinical depression?
- Lack of energy
- Insomnia, or sleeping too much
- Lack of interest in favorite activity’s
- Crying, sadness
- Anger, irritability
- Weight loss or gain
- Difficulty thinking or expressing thoughts
- Feeling guilty
- Thoughts of suicide
- Unexplained pain
Everyone experiences some of those symptoms at various times in their life, but clinical depression is composed of these feelings that will not go away with a change of scenery.
Clinical depression happens mostly to adults in their 20s or 30s, although it can also happen to children and teens. There are certain risk factors to be aware of:
- Family history — if your family has a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, or suicide.
- Medications — some can cause serious depression. Be mindful of the side effects of medication and when symptoms begin.
- Personality — feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, or being pessimistic.
- Medical history of PTSD, eating or anxiety disorders.
- A traumatic event — being the victim of a crime, or abuse can result in clinical depression.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Serious illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
- When clinical depression is left untreated it can lead to other, more serious problems, such as:
- Isolation — not wanting to interact with people or social situations.
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Problems in personal relationships
- Self-mutilation (cutting)
Clinical depression should be treated as soon as possible. But it comes with a social stigma and can be difficult to face head-on, especially when depressed. It’s much easier to pull the covers over and go back to sleep. If there are risk factors, there are a few proactive things to do:
- Be aware of feelings and behavior.
- Eat healthy foods—fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains.
- Get outside, breathe fresh air, sit in the sunshine.
- Reach out to friends and family, or a medical professional with concerns.
- Try to control stressful situations.
Being clinically depressed is a medical condition, it’s not a matter of losing your mind or going crazy. It’s just as medical as the flu or cancer, and there is no shame in seeking medical intervention when needed.
Clinical depression is treatable, and the earlier the better. Any medical professional should be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns regarding clinical depression.