Clinical depression is a very serious medical condition, one that is too often misunderstood by sufferers and those closest to them. Major depressive disorder is one of the leading causes of disability, one that affects up to 40 million Americans, annually. Despite the widespread nature and potential for serious and even life-threatening consequences of this condition, depression remains a widely misunderstood illness. Learning more about depression can ensure that patients and their loved ones will be able to take more effective and appropriate action.
Understanding clinical depression
From being able to recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of depression to learning more about intensive-treatment methods such as depression clinics, having a better understanding of depression can make a world of difference. Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, is a major brain disorder that can be characterized by reduced energy levels, loss of interest in activities or goals as well as feelings of hopelessness and despair. Clinical depression may lead to a wide range of self-harming behaviors, especially for those who fail to seek treatment. Medications, support groups, therapy services and treatment options such as a depression retreat can all play an important role during the recovery process.
Risk factors, symptoms and warning signs
There are numerous events or contributing factors which may increase the risk of depression, these include:
- Recent loss, such as a divorce or death of a loved one
- Preexisting conditions or mental health disorders
- Chronic or acute stress
- Drug or alcohol addiction
While clinical depression may affect those who have no preexisting conditions or risk-factors, major events and lifestyle choices often play a bigger role than many people might imagine.
The ability to spot the symptoms and early warning signs of depression helps ensure that effective treatment is sought as early as possible. Prescription medications, depression clinics and therapeutic resources may all prove to be more effective when employed at the onset of depression. Common symptoms of depression may include:
- Sleeping too litle or too much
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in personal or professional life
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Feelings of intense sadness, despondency or hopelessness
Treatment options and resources
Every patient is different and treatment methods that may provide relief for one person may be of little real benefit for another. There are many cases, where antidepressants and other medications have been shown to be effective at managing the symptoms of depression. Cognitive therapy or a combination of medications and therapeutic efforts are often the most effective way to treat major depressive disorder while other options, such as a depression retreat or other social or support-group based exercise, may be useful in preventing depression from growing worse or ensuring other treatment efforts are as effective as possible.
When to seek help
Depression is a serious disorder, one that has the potential to lead to self-harming or life-threatening behaviors. Some studies indicate that the mortality rates of clinical depression are as high as 15 percent, although the risks associated with this disorder may be even higher for those who lack the proper treatment resources or who fail to seek out the help and assistance they need. Speaking to a doctor, psychiatrist or a licensed professional counselor is often the first step on the road to recovery. Qualified medical professionals can provide a great deal of useful insight regarding medications, counseling services, depression retreats, support groups and other resources that can make a real difference for those who suffer from depression.