The signs of clinical depression are diagnosed along a depression scale in which clinical depression is the most severe category, requiring immediate care and attention.
-Most of the warning signs of depression are present, and are usually more frequent and much more intense than in the milder forms of depression.
Clinical Depression is also known as: Unipolar depression, Major depression, or a Unipolar or Major depressive disorder.
During diagnosis it is important to distinguish between a unipolar depression and the possibility of delirium, dementia, psychosis or other psychiatric disorder.
-In addition, thyroid problems and some viruses can mimic signs of clinical depression.
It is important to rule out a medical cause of depression before proceeding to a psychological evaluation.
-Sleep apnea, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders, as well as stress can also display many of the signs of clinical depression.
Research does indicate that unipolar depression is a disorder of the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown that the brains of people who are depressed, look very different than those showing no signs.
-The parts of the brain that are responsible for thinking, for sleep and appetite control, and for the regulation of mood and behavior appear to be functioning abnormally in the MRI images of a depressed persons brain.
There is no concrete evidence pointing to the exact cause of clinical depression, but it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.
-Genetic predisposition plays a role, as at times it appears to run in families. However, depression can also occur in people without any family histories of depression as well.
Unipolar depression can often result from a single traumatic event in your life, or from a series of disappointments, traumas and other personal problems.
Any of us who have ever suffered through the temporary agony of a broken heart, is very aware of the feelings of a true unipolar or clinical depression. -Fortunately, these feelings are short lived for most of us.
Although the signs of a clinical depression can occur once following the loss of a loved one, or other significant trauma and never return again, many folks are plagued with more than one episode, followed by several years without any depression symptoms at all.
-Some people may develop the signs of clinical depression without any obvious cause or trigger. Others can have less serious forms of depression such as dysthymia (dis thigh' mia) for years, which can eventually develop into the more serious unipolar depression.
Generally speaking the treatment for both forms of depression is similar, though of course more intense for the signs of a clinical depression.
-Other factors that are important in the development of Unipolar Depression are other medical conditions, dietary problems; poor sleep quality (obstructive sleep apnea is closely linked with depression), seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and postpartum depression.
There is debate in the psychiatric community, as to whether people really can develop clinical depression without any psychological causes, but rather from biochemical changes alone.
-At this time there is no hard evidence that there is such a biochemical change in the brain that could trigger a unipolar depression.
In most cases a psychological event will induce the brain chemistry change, which in turn can then trigger the signs of a clinical depression.
-There is no debate however, that unipolar depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States.
Treatment for Clinical Depression
In far too many cases, people are prescribed depression drugs without any psychological support whatsoever.
-However, research has shown that the vast majority of people who do require antidepressants, will respond much better to treatment when supportive psychotherapy is also provided.
Research indicates cognitive therapy is the best treatment for depression compared to depression drugs alone or other forms of psychotherapy.
-The medications, which help to change the chemistry of the brain, are a vital piece of the depression treatment program. They can help the sufferer to address the signs of clinical depression with better judgment.
But most people seem to respond best to a combination of talk therapy and medication for the signs of clinical depression. No two people will respond the same; just as their depression causes are not the same.
Antidepressants do their work by normalizing naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, notably norepinephrine and serotonin.
-Other antidepressants work on the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Scientists have had success with the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat the signs of clinical depression.
-They have discovered that these particular chemicals are involved to regulate a persons mood, although exactly how is not fully understood.
With the use of these depression drugs, those suffering with the disorder have more serotonin in their brains, which in turn helps to lift their mood, and give them an overall more optimistic outlook on life.
-Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work in much the same way as SSRIs and include:
SSRIs and SNRIs are more popular than the older classes of depression drugs, such as MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclics, because these medications tend to have fewer side effects.
-Also, people taking MAOIs must be very careful with certain foods and other medications to avoid serious interactions that could occur.
Anyone taking an MAOI should obtain a complete list of these!
Again, no two people are the same, depression drugs that work for some may not for others, so for them these older types may be the best choice.
-For this reason it may take a few trials to get the correct medication or medications for any given individual.
For all types of depression drugs, those suffering the signs of clinical depression must take a regular dose for at least three to four weeks to experience the full benefit.
-All of the doctor's instructions should be strictly followed when taking any depression drugs, as certain people can have very serious adverse effects, especially during the initial weeks of treatment.
For some people, such as those with chronic or recurring depression, the need to stay on the depression medications may be indefinite.
Here's the good news ...
Unipolar depression, even the most severe case, is a very treatable condition. As with most any disease or disorder, the sooner treatment starts the more effective it will be, and the less likely it is to recur.
-The long-term outlook for people with these signs of clinical depression is often very good.
With the right form of psychotherapy (talk therapy) and the correct medication for a certain time, the majority of people who suffer a major depression are quite often able to live with few recurring episodes.
more on clinical depression from wikipedia
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