Have You Lost Your Appetite And Your Ability To Sleep? Here’s What You Need To Know

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression affects about 6.7 percent of Americans over the age of 18. This is often called clinical depression wherein the patient experiences feelings of constant hopelessness and despair, as well as altered appetite and sleep patterns, difficulty working and lack of enjoyment of the company of friends and family.

It is also explained that clinical depression affects people just once in their life, but for others, it can last a lifetime. This major depression is sometimes inherited but others who have no history of this disease in their family can also suffer from it. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat and manage depression.

Major clinical depression – What is it?

According to WebMD, there are times in people’s lives where they feel sad or low, but clinical depression is defined by a depressed mood throughout the day (others experience it only in the morning), along with a loss of interest in hobbies, relationships, and even their normal activities.

What are the symptoms of clinical depression?

People with clinical depression have severe symptoms that they see them as problems in their daily lives, according to Mayo Clinic. On the other hand, some people might feel hopeless or sad but don’t really understand why. According to WebMD and Mayo Clinic, here are the signs that you need to look out for:

- Constant or frequent fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Impaired concentration and/or indecisiveness
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide. If you are having suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately.
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Change in appetite
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

These symptoms are almost present almost every day to people suffering from clinical depression.

Who is at risk for clinical depression?

According to WebMD, between 20 and 25 percent of adults has a chance of suffering an episode of major depression at some point in their life. On the other hand, clinical depression also affects children and teens.

They also noted that women are more likely to develop clinical depression. This increased risk may be attributed to menstruation, hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause. Some doctors also consider genetic predisposition, caring for an aging parent, raising children alone, and balancing a family life with career.

According to Mayo Clinic, there are also other risk factors which include:

- Being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic, and having low self-esteem
- Experiencing stressful or traumatic events like sexual or physical abuse, the death of a loved one, financial problems, and a difficult relationship.
- Suffering childhood depression or trauma
- Having blood relatives with a history of bipolar disorder, alcoholism, depression or suicide
- Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in an unsupportive situation
- Having a history of other mental health disorders, such as eating disorders, anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Abusing illegal drugs or alcohol
- Suffering a serious or chronic illness including cancer, chronic pain, stroke or heart disease
- Taking some medications

How can clinical depression be treated?

According to Mayo Clinic, clinical depression is mostly treated with prescribed medications and sometimes paired with psychotherapy. Doctors or psychiatrists can give prescribed medications to relieve recurring symptoms but it is always better for people with clinical depression to visit a psychologist or other form of mental health care provider.

There several drug treatments that can help manage clinical depression but it is best to talk to your doctor so they can figure out the best plan for your treatment. Mayo Clinic also notes that when it comes to finding the right medication, picking the right drug can be a process because not all drugs that worked for a family member may also work in your case. Sometimes it goes down to trial and error.

With regards to treating clinical depression with psychotherapy, talking about your current condition and related issues can really help the process as explained by the Mayo Clinic. There are different psychotherapy that can be effective, and your mental health care provider will definitely talk about what’s best for you. According to Mayo Clinic, psychotherapy is generally aimed at helping you:

- Adjust to a crisis or other stressful changes or difficulties
- Identify negative attitudes and behaviors and replace them with more healthy, positive ones
- Explore relationships and experiences
- Find better ways to cope and problem solve
- Identify issues that contribute to your depression and change causative behaviors
- Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life
- Learn to set realistic goals
- Develop healthier behaviors to tolerate and accept distress

If you’re experiencing any signs of depression, it is better to contact your doctor so that he can do something about it while it is still very manageable. If you are having suicidal thoughts, get in touch with your doctor right away.

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