When you’re physically ill, your body gives you clues. You run a fever, feel congested, and your energy level is extremely low. When you’re dealing with a mental illness such as clinical depression, the symptoms are not as overt, so it can be difficult to self-diagnose. It can range from mild to serious, and many people don’t know how to recognize the signs. If you’ve been feeling any of the symptoms below, you may have clinical depression.
What Is Clinical Depression?
Clinical depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder, is a severe type of depression. It’s characterized by persistent sadness or lack of interest with external surroundings. Major depression is focused on the negative emotions and thoughts. It is not synonymous to the depression from grief or medical conditions. Physicians often treat major depression fairly easily with a mental health therapy combination of psychotherapy and medication. Before diagnosing a patient with major depressive disorder, a doctor will likely use symptom criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association.
What Are the Signs?
Clinical depression can go unnoticed by friends, family, and even the affected person themselves. It can feel like an extreme sadness or tiredness. It looks like disinterest or anti-social behaviors. These signs aren’t significantly alarming, and many times they can come on gradually. If you think you or someone you care about is suffering from clinical depression, there are some signs and symptoms that a doctor may find significant. If you are experiencing, or the person in question expresses:
- Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
- Anger in the form of outbursts, high irritation or frustration levels
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
- Irregular sleep cycles, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired and lack of energy
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- High-stress levels including anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feeling worthless or guilty, focused on negative self
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicidal attempts or suicide
- Self-inflicted pain or trauma. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
Before taking action, it should be noted that these symptoms should be severe enough to cause obvious problems in relationships or everyday actions, such as work or school. If you or someone you know has expressed any of these symptoms, it does not automatically mean they are clinically depressed. A confirmed diagnosis should come from a physician, so be sure to communicate your concerns with your doctor. It’s important that people don’t self-diagnose, in part because this can lead to a dangerous practice of self-medicating.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health and pain management, contact Psy-Visions. We offer comprehensive, responsive care tailored to your individual needs. Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Stracks provides customized treatment that addresses the underlying physical and emotional issues causing your symptoms. Call (203) 405-1745 today and get the supportive care you need to help you resume control of your life or use our online form to request a consultation with Dr. Stracks.