Ways of Diagnosing Clinical Depression
The well-known term of 'clinical depression' is generally used to describe a more severe form of depression which is also sometimes known as 'major depression' or 'major depressive disorder'.
The diagnosis of depression can differ significantly, and can range from mild and occasional bouts of sadness, to severe and persistent episodes. It is important to seek advice from a medical professional to properly diagnose all forms of depression.
The most significant symptoms of clinical depression are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the United States and are stated below.
Clinical depression symptoms include the following:
- A general loss of interest or pleasure in most common day-to-day activities
- Feeling in a Depressed low mood most of the day, nearly every day
- A Significant and noticeable weight loss or weight gain
- Either sleeping too much, or alternatively, not being able to sleep (on a consistent basis)
- Slowed thinking or slowed physical movements that others notice
- A feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt for unknown reason
- Losing ones concentration or periods of being unable to decide
- Feelings of tiredness, fatigue or low energy levels nearly every day
- Thoughts of death or thoughts of suicide on a recurring basis
If a person experiences 5 or more of the symptoms noted above, over a period of 2 weeks, AND one of those symptoms above is either a depressed or low mood OR a loss of interest or pleasure in day-to-day activities, they should see a Medical Professional immediately. We should be aware though, that some types of depression may not fit this strict definition and a Doctor will be able to provide proper diagnosis.
Clinical depression can cause significant and regular disruptions in someones daily life. Work, school and/or social activities can all be affected to the point of a person being unable to attend.
It is worth remembering that depression does not discriminate and it can affect men, women and children of all ages and from all cultural backgrounds.
Clinical depression isn't the same as depression caused by a significant loss (such as death of a loved one), or even substance abuse, or a medical condition such as a thyroid disorder.
It is comforting to know that clinical depression symptoms will usually improve with either psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or perhaps a combination of the two, giving the person suffering from the disorder a great deal of hope for the future.