Stress and Depression Answers

Stress and Depression Answers :: Clinical Depression Symptoms

Clinical Depression Symptoms
Are Important to Know and Recognize

In any given year within the United States, about 9.5% of the population - 20.9 million American adults - suffers from a depressive illness. Unfortunately most people don't seek treatment. And because most people don't recognize clinical depression symptoms, the illness only gets worse.

This is partly because many people don't realize depression is a treatable illness. This is very sad and results in an unknown amount of human suffering; both for the depressed person and everyone around them.

What is a depressive disorder and
what is clinical depression?

A depressive disorder is an illness involving the body, mood and thoughts. It affects how you eat, sleep, feel about yourself, and how you think about things.

It is NOT the same as a passing blue mood. It isn't a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. If you have a depressive illness you can't simply "pull yourself together" and get better. Depressive disorders range in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Doctors use the term "clinical depression" to describe the more severe, persistent form of depression. It is also commonly called major depression.

Without treatment symptoms can last weeks, months or years and also take a profound toll on your physical health.

Treatment for anxiety and depression is available. Even for someone who is severely depressed. Some alternative treatments for depression are found in other articles on this website by the same title.

Types of depression

The three most common forms of depressive disorders are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.

Major depression is a combination of symptoms and it interferes with your ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy activities you once found pleasurable. You may only experience one disabling episode of depression in your life. But it's more common for it to occur several times in your lifetime. Stress has been shown to play a major role in the patient's first few episodes of major depression, but not in later episodes. Genetics and temperament appear to play the most important role for later episodes of a patient's depression.

It appears that major depression often requires stress to "get the ball rolling", but after a few episodes, the illness develops its own momentum and no longer needs stress to "keep rolling".

Symptoms of Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Not everyone who is depressed or has bipolar disorder experiences all of these symptoms. You may experience only a few of them or several. Also how severe the symptoms are varies with individuals and also varies over time.

Depression: always feel sad, an "empty" mood; feelings of hopelessness, guilt, helplessness; no longer enjoy hobbies and activities you used to enjoy; change in appetite (weight loss or gain); difficult to concentrate; thoughts of death or suicide; or persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to treatment (headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain). Please take the quiz in the Signs of Depression article for a more detailed list of clinical depression symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness): unusually high or extreme feelings of joy; unusually irritable; less need for sleep; grandiose notions; seem to talk and talk and talk; thoughts are racing; increased sexual desire; a significant increase in energy; poor judgment; and inappropriate social behavior are all symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Please take the quiz in the Signs of Bipolar Disorder article for a more detailed list of symptoms.

Take the appropriate quiz results to your doctor. The first step to getting the right treatment for anxiety and depression is a physical examination by your doctor. Some medications as well as some viral infections can cause the same symptoms as depression. Your doctor can rule out these possibilities with an examination, interview and blood tests.

Then if a physical cause for the depression is eliminated, a psychological exam should be done. It's possible the same doctor can do it or refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Treatment for anxiety and depression will depend on the results of the examinations. Fortunately there's a variety of antidepressant medications and therapies available. Learn what the clinical depression symptoms are. And if you or someone you love appears to be suffering from major depression or anxiety, don't delay. You can eliminate or reduce your suffering from stress anxiety and depression so visit your doctor right away.

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