Clinical Depression is a valid medical illness that is very treatable. There is far too much stigma and much that is misunderstood about Major Depressive Disorder, or what is commonly just called “Depression”, “Major Depression” or “Clinical Depression.” For the purposes of this post, we are going to use the term “Clinical Depression” in order to differentiate between normal mood states and the actual clinical syndrome that warrants therapeutic intervention. As a Psychologist, I look at Clinical Depression as a medical illness no different or less valid than say, Primary Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis. All are chronic conditions that take effort, treatment, and management on the part of the patient. All have both psychological (stress) and biological (genetic) factors in why they developed.
The signs and symptoms of Clinical Depression:
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Fatigue and decreased energy
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Overeating or appetite loss
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Clinical Depression is not just a feeling or a temporary state of sadness. It is a medical disorder made up of cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms. The term “Depression” is a misnomer in and of itself and I wish the APA used a different term! Some of the most troubling symptoms of patients I have worked with are the physical and cognitive symptoms i.e. physical pain and the inability to pay attention, concentrate, and remember things because of the slowed cognitive processing speed in Clinical Depression.
If you or a loved one in our Maui community is suffering from Clinical Depression. Good help and treatment is available in Lahaina at West Maui Counseling Center with one of our Psychologists. Don’t wait, call today because this is a very treatable illness, that can get better.