The word “depression” is often used in conversation to describe feelings such as sadness, disappointment, and frustration. However, there is a difference between that and clinical depression.
Clinical depression is much more than sadness. There are several categories of depression, including Clinical, Situational, Perinatal, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
- Clinical depression – which is also called major depressive disorder – is a severe form of depression which is often debilitating and interferes with work, school, relationships, and day-to-day tasks.
- Situational depression can be brought on by a sudden life event or even a medical condition.
- Perinatal depression encompasses both prenatal depression and postpartum depression, occurring in a woman before and/or after giving birth to a baby.
- Seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression, affects people who are highly sensitive to days of the year when there are fewer hours of sunlight during the day.
Many individuals are very adept at hiding their depression. Those struggling with depression might hesitate to reach out for help due to the stigma associated with mental health issues, or the feeling of appearing weak if help is sought.
It is especially difficult to detect clinical depression when the individual thinks they do not have anything they might identify in their life as problematic. Instead, the signs are subtle: Thoughts become distorted, motivation evaporates, and often the individual cannot imagine a better future.
People who are clinically depressed might feel constantly guilty, angry, dwell on past mistakes, and see themselves in a negative light. This pattern of thoughts is an essential feature of clinical depression.
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
Common signs of clinical depression include:
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or feeling “empty”
- Feelings of irritability, frustration‚ or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned/unexplained weight changes
- Unexplained aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not subside even with normal treatment
- Attempts or ideations of suicide
How Is Depression Treated?
Treatment for clinical depression often includes medication, psychotherapy, or both. Antidepressants are commonly used to successfully treat clinical depression, although they do take time to work, usually one to two months. Your mental health provider can help you track your changes so that you can decide whether they are helping.
Other treatments include behavioral changes and psychotherapy. It is most effective if your therapist collaborates with the doctor (usually a psychiatrist) who prescribes your medication, in order to coordinate and maximize your treatment.
A mental health professional will also help you take control of your behaviors which can impact your mood, such as:
- Establishing a regular wake time and bedtime
- Engaging in regular physical activity
- Eating regular, healthy meals
- Scheduling an activity each day, despite lack of motivation or enjoyment
- Connecting with others, either through friends or support groups
- Avoiding alcohol or other mood-inducing chemicals (other than your prescription medications)
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” aids an individual in identifying certain behaviors or stressors that might impact depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective part of treatment for depression, allowing the individual to identify and be aware of thinking patterns that impact emotions and behaviors.
The therapist will teach you ways to challenge and overcome these thoughts. Your therapist might also focus on helping you build interpersonal skills and improve relationships.
Clinical Depression Counselor in Atlanta
There are many effective treatments for clinical depression. If you are struggling with this issue or something similar, reach out to a mental health professional. They can help you identify the resources and solutions that will put you on a path to healing.
The therapists at Atlanta Specialized Care are here for you, and we have the training and expertise to help you or your loved one finally conquer depression. Call us today at (770) 815-6853 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to hearing from you.