It’s normal to feel down and lonely when life gets rough or when you lose a loved one. This kind of depression is what everyone is familiar with. It’s temporary, and you can move on with your life after a period of time. However, when that same dreadful feeling visits you more often than you want, it’s time to consider seeking professional psychological help. Clinical depression is also known as major depressive disorder. It’s a severe form of depression, and it can last for years, if not diagnosed early on.
It’s important to be aware of any warning signs so you can get early treatment. Psychologists and Psychiatrists refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders or DSM-5 to diagnose clinical depression based on its signs and symptoms. To determine whether what you’re experiencing is, here are the signs you need to look out for:
- Overwhelming Loneliness There are times when you’re supposed to celebrate and be happy, but you feel sad and empty instead. Hopelessness weighs on you like a boulder, and you want to cry for no specific reason. Worse, this is how you feel most of the time.
- Feelings of Worthlessness Past failures and mistakes keep playing in your mind, and you blame yourself for it. You feel guilty and worthless. Pessimism overpowers you, and you can’t think of anything good about yourself or any situation.
- Extreme Indifference There’s a profound loss of interest in life. You simply don’t care anymore. Things that you usually derive pleasure from don’t appeal to you anymore, such as hobbies, foods, and sex.
- Sleep Problems Not all people with clinical depression have the same sleep problems. You could either suffer from insomnia or sleep deprivation. On the other hand, you could also sleep too much, so you don’t have to deal with reality.
- Lethargy You have to drag your body all the way to the door because you’re exhausted. And this happens even when you’re getting a reasonable amount of sleep. You move very slowly, and you also respond very slowly. Your overall work performance gets affected.
- Mood Swings Seemingly harmless things suddenly get to your nerves so easily that you become irritable. However, there are times when you also feel overly joyous with no apparent reason, but only briefly. Your sudden mood changes start to cause strain in your relationships.
- Loss of Concentration With all the overwhelming emotions and negative thoughts, you find it difficult to stay focused. You don’t get to do your job very well and making decisions seems impossible. There could even be frequent moments of spacing out, or forgetting things you used to find easy to remember.
- Unhealthy Appetite Same with sleep disturbance, your appetite also goes haywire. You could be losing appetite and dropping weight at a fast rate, or the opposite, you find yourself craving food and eating more than normal.
- Health Problems Migraines and back pains regularly hit you. You take painkillers, but the aches keep coming back. You also experience a recurring digestive pain that doesn’t go away even with treatment.
- Suicidal Thoughts When things become too overwhelming, it seems escape is the only solution. You could be saying to yourself that you can’t go on anymore. The pain is just too much to bear, and death is the only way out. There are several traps in this way of thinking and a good ACT practitioner can help you find them and escape them.
Clinical depression may seem an insurmountable problem, but like any mental disorder, it is treatable. Psychotherapy is an effective way of dealing with depression. It can be undertaken with or without medication. If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to seek help. You can talk to a loved one, consult your general practitioner or contact one of our counsellors or psychologists. Of course, if you are at risk or in an emergency, you should seek immediate help.