Major depression, also referred to be some professionals as clinical depression, is regularly classified as a sense of despair, severe sadness, or hopelessness. People who suffer from major depression often find it difficult to concentrate and function in their regular, everyday lives, causing problems in various areas of their lives, including education, sleeping, eating, working, and taking part in activities they once enjoyed. Some people only suffer from major depression once within their lifetime, whereas others experience it several times, or may develop it alongside other forms of mental disorders such as personality disorders and panic attacks.

Although doctors do not yet know all of the exact causes that may be behind the development and progression of depression, many believe that chemical changes in the brain may have an impact upon the way people feel and behave. Depression could arise as a part of an issue that already exists within your genes, or it could be triggered by various life events. In other instances, major depression may be brought on by:

  • Persistent sleeping problems
  • Stressful events such as bereavement, divorce, abuse or redundancy
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Medical conditions that cause chronic pain
  • Particular medications

The Symptoms and Signs of Major Depression

Individuals who suffer with long-term ore recurrent episodes of major depression tend to find that the course of the illness varies. In some cases, people will experience bouts of severe depression that are interspersed with episodes during which they experience no symptoms at all. When an episode of major depression does arise, different people are likely to react in different ways, some may have trouble sleeping and begin to lose weight, whereas others may sleep and eat far too much.

It has been suggested that other mental health issues and concerns can often co-exist alongside major depression, including alcohol or drug abuse and the addiction that follows, obsessive compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other forms of stress or anxiety. To be diagnosed with a major depression disorder, a person should have experienced at least five of the following nine symptoms for a period of two weeks or more:

  • Low or irritable mood
  • Reduced level of interest in regular activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Slowed down or agitated behavior
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Thoughts of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble making decisions, thinking, or concentrating

Who is At Risk from Major Depression?

Although some studies have shown that clinical depression is capable of moving from one generation to the next throughout certain families, it does not have to be genetic. People with no family history or predisposition towards mental health problems can still suffer from depression on a severe scale caused by chemical changes within the brain. It is important to recognize that major depression is a legitimate illness and form of mood disorder which causes feelings of anger, loss, frustration, and sadness.

Studies conducted by the National institute of Mental Health (NIMH), have shown that major depression affects 6.7% of the US population over the age of eighteen, and anywhere up to 25% of all adults may suffer from some form of major depression during the course of their lives. Depression is capable of affecting individuals of any age, but frequently goes un-diagnosed in children and teenagers.

Women have been found to be more at risk for clinical depression due to major hormonal changes during pregnancy, miscarriage, menopause, puberty, and menstruation. Factors that can enhance the chances of a woman developing major depression if she is already vulnerable to it include the stress of raising for a child, caring for an aging parent, balancing a career with a family life or suffering from problems at home. However, it is important to notice that depression in men has been significantly under-reported, as men who suffer with mood disorders, depression, and general anxiety are less likely to seek help. Often, this can lead men with depression to turn to substance abuse as a way of repressing their feelings or self-medicating for their symptoms.

When it comes to dealing with Major depression, no-one should be expected to go through it alone. There are treatments and organizations out there dedicated to providing assistance to those in need, and Creative Care is available to help anyone in need of direction when it comes to dealing with depression.