According to experts in the psychiatric field, clinical depression is a mental disorder characterized by extended periods of melancholy and sadness that one cannot control. This condition is quite different from the transient depression felt by virtually everyone from time to time. Clinical depression is associated with feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, sadness and little hope for the future. |
Types of Depression
There are numerous forms of depression, and although many of the symptoms overlap, each is a distinct disorder. For example, the form of the condition referred to as bipolar depression creates extreme mood swings ranging from intense happiness and elation to debilitating sadness. Another form of depression occurs after childbirth, appropriately named postpartum depression. This form of the disorder results in a woman feeling depressed rather than happy about the birth of her child. Women suffering from postpartum depression often feel incapable of caring for their newborn or even completing the simplest of tasks.
Dysthimia is a chronic, low-grade depression that afflicts a small percentage of the population. Most individuals suffering from this form of the disorder are unaware of its presence and attribute it to their personality. Unlike clinical depression, it is not debilitating in nature, but usually prevents those suffering from it to function at an optimal level. Similarly, cyclothemia is a milder form of manic depression that is not as debilitating as its more serious counterpart.
Seasonal affective disorder is the result of one's emotional and mental response to the lack of sunlight experienced during fall and winter. It is not yet known why certain individuals appear to be at a higher risk for this disorder than others; however, research indicates there is a link between this condition and vitamin D deficiency in certain cases.
Clinical depression is the technical term for chronic depression that interferes with one's happiness and quality of life. It is characterized by melancholy, sadness, listlessness and the inability to shake off a low mood despite the fact that there is no apparent cause for such feelings.
Treatments are available for depression and many doctors are of the opinion that when it is treated early, a good prognosis is possible for most patients. In studies conducted by the University of Texas, patients who seek treatment shortly following the initial appearance of their symptoms have experienced greater success with various treatments than those who procrastinate in the pursuit of help. Although not all individuals respond to treatment as quickly as others, it is essential that one continue to work with his or her doctor until the appropriate therapy is found. In many cases, a combination of medication and counseling is used.
Those seeking additional information regarding clinical depression may wish to avail themselves of the Internet or visit their local library where books on psychiatry and specific mental illnesses can be found. There are also holistic remedies that certain patients find helpful, although no one should attempt to diagnose or treat their own mental illness without consulting a medical professional. Therefore, anyone experiencing the aforementioned symptoms should seek the advice of a licensed healthcare practitioner without delay.
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