Extreme depression is also known as major depression, clinical depression, unipolar depression, and major depressive disorder. Individuals who suffer from this type of depression have a persistent feeling of sadness. There is no more pleasure in activities that were at one time pleasurable. Individuals who suffer from extreme depression can also have many different mental and physical problems. Loss of appetite, sleeping patterns change, trouble concentrating, memory issues, aches and pains, a sense of worthlessness, and usually they feel their situation is helpless and cannot be fixed. Trying to snap out of it proves to be impossible and can feel like they are falling into a dark deep hole with nothing to hold on to.
Extreme depression can affect anyone at any age but is most prominent in individuals who are between the ages of 25 and 44. It can last anywhere from six months to nine months on average and if left untreated it sometimes will disappear by itself.
Recent studies have shown that there is strong biological rather than psychological issues that play a bigger part in extreme depression. Interestingly enough it has been shown that stress only plays a part in the first two episodes of extreme depression. After that all subsequent episodes seem to take a life of their own and does not need stress to get it going. It is obvious that genetics and temperament are what play a major role at this point. Any treatment plan should include one that deals with genetics, temperament, and stress.
For a diagnosis of depression at least five of the symptoms listed below need to be present during a two week period. At least one symptom must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
- Be in a depressed mood on most days which can be noticeable by the individual or by others. In children or young adults there can be irritable moods.
- A loss of interest in pleasurable activities. This can be with all or most activities almost everyday which can be noticed by the individual or others.
- Marked changes in weight where there is a loss of weight when there has been no diet plan is being followed or there can be weight gains. There may be a decrease or increase in appetite on most days.
- A change in sleeping patterns. Having trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively almost everyday.
- There can be psychomotor agitation or retardation on most days
- Loss of energy or fatigue on most days
- A feeling of worthlessness or excessive guilt when there is nothing to feel guilty about on most days
- Unable to focus or concentrate on most days.
- Fixed thoughts on dying and thought of suicide without an actual plan, having a specific plan of suicide or an actual suicide attempt.
If the symptoms are not attributable to any existing physical illness then there is a good chance extreme depression may be what is wrong. Seeking treatment with a professional such as a physician mental health professional will help get through this type of depression successfully.