We all experience unhappiness and temporary feelings of worthlessness and self blame. Sometimes when we experience failure, we might also experience sadness and even emptiness. These feelings described above are signs of depression. However, such feelings are not the same as having clinical depression.
Clinical depression can take many forms. Some people, for example, have what is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which manifests itself during a particular time of year-usually winter. Others might experience major depressions, bipolar disorders, dysthymia and even postpartum depression.
Clinical depression is an illness. It is a severe experience of being sad, unhappy, worthless and feeling empty. Clinical depression, unlike temporary depression may last for weeks and interferes with one's work and social life.
What causes clinical depression? The answer is not clear. While in some cases there seems to be a genetic link, in most instances life experiences appear to play an important role. It has also been noted that it is diagnosed in twice as many women as men. But this does not mean that men are unaffected. On the contrary, it is estimated that between 5 and 12 percent of men will become clinically depressed at some point in life.
When this type of depression strikes, it is all-pervasive and affects virtually every aspect of one's life. It shakes you to the core, corroding your confidence, self-esteem, your ability to think straight and make decisions. Some of the signs to look out for when experiencing clinical depression are;
• Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness.
• Sleep problems
• Eating disorders
• Difficulties concentrating or making decisions
• Feelings of sadness and grief
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Decreased sex drive
• Social isolation
• Suicidal thoughts.
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