Major depression, also known as clinical depression, is a severe form of depression.
We all feel low at some point in our lives. Depression ranges from mild, temporary episodes, to severe phases that remain constant. Major depression is the type that makes you feel hopeless every day.
The symptoms of someone who is suffering from this type of depression will be as follows:
- Feeling sad, empty or tearful
- Lost pleasure in all or most activities
- Potentially weight loss without dieting (because appetite disappears)
- Increased desire to sleep
- Persistent fatigue
- Suicidal thoughts
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest in sex
To be suffering from clinical depression, your symptoms must be severe enough to cause noticeable problems within relationships or other day to day activities, and you will be feeling that way every day, for more than 2 weeks. Perhaps you have been withdrawing from a partner, or you have been skipping work. Those with depression will likely see everything in a negative way, and possibly struggle to even get out of bed.
Almost twice as many women as men have clinical depression. However, it is often under-reported in men. They are less likely to seek help.
You can be predisposed towards depression genetically. There are also some issues with neurotransmitters that can cause depression to manifest itself (which is why medication can sometimes help), but there are events that may trigger depression this severe:
- Losing a loved one
- Being socially isolated
- Major life changes such as moving, changing jobs, graduating
- Being assaulted
Depression symptoms in children and teenagers
While the symptoms can and will most likely be similar to adults, there may be other signs that your child is depressed:
- aches and pains
- refusing to go to school
- feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive
- using drugs or alcohol (teenagers)
- avoidance of social interaction
Clinical depression is serious, but treatable. 70% recover from depression on their own within one year. Seeking help now means you will recover even quicker. Your doctor may recommend treatment with an antidepressant medication. He or she may also suggest psychotherapy such as CBT, which is great for both treating and preventing future depressive episodes.
Like melancholic and psychotic depression, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) can be used if drugs prove ineffective. This is often used as a last resort.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you feel you are suffering from major depression. Please call 0845 790 9090 to talk to the Samaritans if you are having suicidal thoughts.