What is clinical depression?

Berkeley Psychologist, Depression Therapy

Depression is a common mental illness that affects many people globally regardless of race, gender, or social class. Typically, depression is classified according to its severity, with clinical depression being right at the end of the spectrum, meaning it’s pretty severe. Dr. Lynn Winsten Berkeley Psychologist, has helped many people dealing with clinical depression, and one of the questions she often hears is, “What is clinical depression?”

Read on to find the answers you need to know.

Signs and Symptoms of Clinical Depression

As always, when it comes to the topic of depression, it’s important to emphasize that depression is more than feeling down in the dumps because it’s a Monday. It’s not something you can smile away or a mood that you can pull yourself out of by sheer willpower.

Clinical depression is a serious illness that affects your ability to function normally in many ways. Here’s a quick breakdown of the signs and symptoms associated with clinical depression.

  • Lack of energy and persistent feelings of fatigue
  • Acting out angrily or showing overt frustration, agitation, and irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness
  • Significant changes in eating habits resulting in significant weight loss or gain
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Unusual sleeping behaviors, such as constant oversleeping or insomnia
  • Difficulty remembering thoughts, making decisions, concentrating, or processing thoughts
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death

That being said, dealing with clinical depression doesn’t mean you’re abnormal in any way. It happens to the best of us. Dr. Lynn Winsten has treated many people that suffer from clinical depression, and they were from different age groups, cultures, religions, genders, and ethnicity. With the right treatment and support, life can get better, and it’s possible to make a full recovery.

What Triggers Clinical Depression?

Sometimes, people can trace it back to when they started feeling depressed. However, the causes of depression are not always so clear-cut in other instances. Below are some common causes of depression:

  • Family history. Although clinical depression can affect individuals with no family history of mental illness, research suggests that the predisposition to develop depression can be inherited. This biological component of depression triggers a chemical imbalance in the brain.
  • Major life changes. Major life-changing events, such as losing a loved one, retirement, changing jobs, or relocating, are common causes of clinical depression.
    Substance abuse. Substance abuse can be a sign that someone is suffering from clinical depression. People often turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of dealing with depression. However, substance abuse comes with its own problems, such as withdrawal symptoms that can trigger depression.
  • Stress. In life, we all deal with different types of stressors, such as the pressure to meet work or academic deadlines. People can also be stressed because of financial, social, and family issues. When these psychological and environmental stressors become overwhelming, this can lead to a depressive episode.

Other things that could trigger clinical depression include low self-esteem, medical conditions, relationship problems, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

How Is Clinical Depression Diagnosed?

The only way to get an official diagnosis for clinical depression is to see a doctor or a qualified health professional, such as a psychologist. Unfortunately, most people are not always aware of the symptoms of clinical depression, so they struggle with the illness for longer than they have to. If you recognize the symptoms of depression outlined above, the best course of action is to seek help immediately.

The first step to recovery starts with a professional diagnosis. From there, your doctor or psychologists can create a personalized treatment plan that matches your unique situation. During your scheduled consultation, you’ll be asked a series of questions to determine if you’re suffering from clinical depression.

For instance, your mental health professional may ask about your signs and symptoms as well as your family’s psychiatric history. Fortunately, there are typically no invasive procedures performed to get a diagnosis.

How Is Clinical Depression Treated?

Clinical depression is not something you have to suffer from endlessly. Once you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, you’ll undergo treatment. Sometimes all it takes is making lifestyle changes before the condition starts improving. However, if you’re suffering from severe depression, medication and therapy may also be needed.

For instance, your health professional may prescribe antidepressants if you have had symptoms of depression for a long time. With clinical depression, the symptoms can last for weeks or even months, so it’s necessary for the person to take prescribed medicine to initiate recovery. Through continuous monitoring, your mental health expert will be able to determine the best treatment for you.

People respond differently to medications, so some trial and error might be needed to find the most suitable drug and dose. In any case, your mental health team is trained to deliver safe and effective treatment that helps you overcome the symptoms of clinical depression.

How to Improve Your Quality of Life After Getting Diagnosed With Clinical Depression

After getting diagnosed with clinical depression, you still have your whole life ahead of you. However, it’s important to acknowledge that you’re at risk of frequent depressive episodes. The best approach, therefore, is to be proactive and minimize this risk. Here are some of the top things you can do to improve the quality of life when you have been diagnosed with clinical depression:

  • Make positive lifestyle changes. Improving your physical health can go a long way toward improving your mood and overall body chemistry. Many people feel better when they start exercising and eating a healthy diet.
  • Get help when you need it. If you suspect that there’s something wrong at any point, don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends to get the support you need. Also, talk to your doctor as early as possible to get the best medical advice suited to your unique situation.
  • Join a support group. Talking to people who relate to you and understand what you’re going through can help. This often drives the point home that you’re not alone. If others can cope with clinical depression, you can win too!
  • Educate yourself and stay informed. Reading about clinical depression and using trusted and reliable resources can also help. The more you understand the condition, the easier it is to spot the signs and symptoms, which allows you to seek treatment early should you experience another depressive episode.
Should You See a Clinical Psychologist?

If you suffer from clinical depression, Dr. Lynn Winsten Berkeley Psychologist recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Lynn Winsten uses various tools at her disposal to understand the factors that may be triggering clinical depression.

She uses evidence-based techniques to jumpstart your recovery from clinical depression. For most people suffering from depression, medication is only the other half of the equation when it comes to treatment. Sometimes, effective treatment means sitting down with a trained and qualified mental health professional to resolve psychological issues preventing your full function.

The Final Word

If you or a loved one is dealing with clinical depression, getting the best mental health support can make a huge difference. Once you have a good support network and a routine that includes regular appointments with a mental health specialist, it’s easier to learn to cope with the symptoms of depression and stick to your treatment.

As Dr. Lynn Winsten always says, “The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go through this alone. There are people and professionals ready to guide you through your time of need.

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