Most of us can feel sad or “depressed” at times. Usually, we accept it as part of life, get over it and move on. Sometimes it can be harder to do so.
- A “reactive depression” can follow a traumatic life event such as a death in the family, divorce or loss of a job
- Low self-esteem, whatever the reason, leads to unhappiness
- Some people are negative and pessimistic by nature. They see the glass as half empty instead of half full. Such an attitude can limit enjoyment of life
- Lack of sunlight can trigger the “winter blues” in some people.
None of the above may be severe enough to qualify as a “psychiatric disorder,” but if you recognize yourself, you may still benefit greatly from seeking professional help.
What Is Clinical Depression (Depressive Disorder)?
Clinical depression is a serious psychiatric condition that can have a profound impact on a person’s well-being and interfere significantly with functioning and relationships. It is caused by a combination of biological and hereditary (nature) and environmental (nurture) factors.
What Are the Symptoms of Clinical Depression?
If you have in the past or are now suffering from clinical depression, you will recognize some or all of the following:
- Deep sadness
- Loss of interest in people or activities
- Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
- Interrupted sleep
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
What Are the Types of Clinical Depression?
Major Depressive Episode. This is one or more separate periods of severe depression, each lasting a few weeks or more.
Chronic Depression (Dysthymic Disorder). The symptoms are not as severe as those seen in a major depressive episode, but they last much longer, a year or more.
Bipolar Depression. This is a depressive episode that is one “pole” of bipolar disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a more severe and persistent form of the “winter blues.”