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We all feel sad and depressed from time to time, but usually, those feelings are linked with an event or tend to subside in a relatively short period of time. People with clinical depression (also referred to as major depression or major depressive disorders) are plagued by persistent feelings of sadness and often anxiety that usually have no single, identifiable cause. The effects of clinical depression can extend into every area of life, including work, school and social interactions, resulting in a substantially decreased quality of life. Depression symptoms can become so severe and seem so inescapable, many people contemplate or even attempt suicide.
Specific criteria exist to help determine if the symptoms and issues that are being experienced are being caused by clinical depression. In a nutshell, a person must meet at least five of these criteria to be diagnosed with clinical depression:
pervasive feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthlessness
loss of interest in many activities
difficulty sleeping, which could include insomnia or sleeping too much
fatigue or lethargy
restlessness and irritability
outbursts of emotion
thoughts of suicide
Moreover, the symptoms must be strong and pervasive enough to interfere with everyday living, not just fleeting feelings that still enable you to function normally day to day. Clinical depression can also be accompanied by other disorders, including anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder. In-depth discussion of your symptoms can help ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment for optimal results.
Depression is often approached with a combination of therapy and medication (pharmacotherapy) to help battle both the emotional manifestations and physical causes that can contribute to clinical depression. Your treatment will be individualized for your needs and may be adjusted over time to achieve the best results.
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