Insight into the Psychological and Physical Effects of Clinical Depression

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What is Clinical Depression?

Clinical depression is a mood disorder characterized by a severe low mood lasting for at least two weeks. Clinical depression impairs an individual’s ability to function in day-to-day life. The symptoms of clinical depression manifest themselves in both psychological and physical ways. There are individual differences in the timing, severity, duration and number of effects of clinical depression. It is important to note that there are both individual and cultural differences in the effects of clinical depression. Some East Asians, for example, experience physical effects such as headaches and body aches and pains at a greater frequency than do Caucasians with clinical depression. Receiving treatment may decrease the intensity and duration of clinical depression. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression consult a medical professional.

Psychological Effects of Clinical Depression

Psychological effects of clinical depression are diverse and may result in changes to an individual’s personality. Individuals who were extroverted before diagnosis, for example, may feel a desire to isolate themselves from others. Common feelings associated with clinical depression are feelings of sadness, worthlessness, helplessness and guilt. Individuals may also experience feelings of irritability, emptiness and a lack of self confidence and feelings of inadequacy.These feelings may be accompanied with behavior such as tearfulness and withdrawal from others.

Individuals with clinical depression may experience feelings of being overwhelmed by tasks and activities that were considered simple prior to the onset of depression. Getting out of bed, for example, may feel too difficult. Individuals with clinical depression may also have difficulty concentrating and making decisions. Apathy and indifference can occur towards hobbies and activities that were once considered pleasant.

In severe cases, suicidal ideation or intent may occur. Individuals may be preoccupied with thoughts of death, suicide and/or harming themselves. This may be accompanied with or without a specific plan for committing suicide.

Physical Effects of Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is associated with a loss of energy and increased feelings of fatigue. Fatigue may persist despite the amount of sleep an individual gets. Sleep may be increased or insomnia may occur. Sleep patterns may be disrupted, such as waking too early in the morning or waking during the night. In some cases, sleep cycles may be reversed with individuals sleeping during the day and staying awake during the night. Appetite may be markedly increased or decreased. This may result in an increase or decrease in food consumption and weight. Sex drive may also be decreased or non-existent. Psychomotor agitation or retardation may also occur. Individuals may appear excessively jittery, for example, or movements may appear slowed down. Some individuals report non specific aches and pains and headaches that cannot be attributed to physical disorders or illness.


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