Clinical Depression, otherwise known as major depression, is one of the most prevalent mental disorders of the twentieth century. Research has shown that in the United States alone, 19 million people succumb to clinical depression each year. In addition, figures suggest that up to 10% of women and 3-5% of men worldwide may be suffering from clinical depression at any given time.
Clinical depression is more than a simple case of the blues or a natural reaction to adverse environmental circumstances. It is a debilitating mental disorder that needs to be swiftly diagnosed and treated. Any form of depression if left untreated may become debilitating and life crippling. In severe cases, depression has been known to lead to divorce, unemployment and even suicide attempts.
Depression may be caused by a variety of factors, the most common of which being an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. Other possible causes include social factors, hereditary or evolutionary factors, biological factors, physical factors and psychological factors. In addition, certain prescribed medications and natural depressants such as alcohol and recreational drugs may also aggravate the onset of depression.
Clinical depression may present itself in a number of ways. Some of the more familiar symptoms of the disorder include intense feelings of sadness, anger or hatred and a desire to withdraw from society. Clinically depressed individuals may also experience continued sensations of hopelessness, guilt, apathy, worthlessness, restlessness and indecisiveness. In addition, the disorder may manifest itself in a number of physical symptoms such as weight loss or gain, sleeplessness or oversleeping, energy loss, unrelenting headaches or digestive disorders and persistent thoughts about suicide and death.
It is a common misconception that depression is only a problem if it is completely debilitating or lasts for weeks or months at a time. In reality however, even the mildest forms of depression require rapid diagnosis and treatment so as to prevent them from worsening. With the right combination of psychotherapy and medication, almost all forms of depression can be simply and effectively controlled.
The greatest obstacle in the successful treatment of clinical depression is undoubtedly the fact that individuals fail to recognise the many symptoms of the disorder and refrain from seeking help or treatment. Individuals who suspect that they may be suffering from clinical depression should immediately consult a physician, psychologist or medical professional. The earlier the condition is detected and treated, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful and future episodes will be prevented.