Clinical depression symptoms – laying out the basics

Clinical depression

Clinical depression (major depressive disorder) is a condition in which all the symptoms of depression are present, requiring immediate medical attention. As a rule, it has a severe course and, according to statistics, about a quarter of the world’s population has experienced an episode of acute depression at least once in their lives. But, alas, only half of them seek help. Naturally, in this case, the outcome of the disease turned out to be very unfavorable.


Clinical depression has a whole complex of symptoms, which in their entirety have a very severe impact on the patient, and untimely help is fraught with severe (up to lethal) consequences.

The symptoms of major depression are:

  • Mood, which is decreased during the day or most of the day;
  • High fatigue and low energy potential;
  • Personality changes: low self-esteem, self-deprecation, feelings of guilt, indecision;
  • inability to enjoy anything, loss of interests;
  • difficulty to concentrate when solving problems, including simple household and professional problems;
  • Inability to concentrate;
  • disorder of sleep, apathy;
  • Weight loss (often even if the person eats normally);
  • ideas, thoughts or actions aimed at self-destruction (readiness for suicide).

Not infrequently, the experience of acute depression is reflected in one’s appearance: the person ceases to pay attention to self-care, to monitor the state of one’s clothes, and to neglect basic hygienic procedures.

If these signs are stable in the person’s behavior and are observed for at least two weeks, this is a reason to immediately seek medical help. The presence of suicidal thoughts, intentions and actions is a direct indication for inpatient treatment, since the patient poses an immediate danger to himself or herself.

Treatment of clinical depression

Treatment of clinical depression is the professional domain of the psychiatrist. Quality treatment of acute depression must be based on a comprehensive diagnosis, since it is the correctness of the diagnosis that determines the success of therapy.

There is a tendency for patients to be silent about certain symptoms of depressive disorder, which is caused by an unreasonable fear of taking antidepressants. But in the case of clinical depression, the need for their use is really due to vital indications.

Treatment at the Mental Health Clinic

The Mental Health Clinic conducts a comprehensive examination of the patient before beginning treatment for this type of illness. It is very important to differentiate the cause, causing it: to determine the patient’s hormonal background, make a detailed history, conduct laboratory and instrumental diagnostics.

Only after that is assigned a drug treatment . Correctly chosen medication does not cause severe side effects. The method of monotherapy (prescription of a single, carefully selected drug) and therapeutic window method, when the necessary and safe dosage of the drug is precisely adjusted, help us in this.

We carefully monitor blood levels, which allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug and avoid prescribing unnecessarily high doses.

Psychotherapy is also one of the integral methods of complex treatment of clinical depression in the clinic. Specialists skilled in various psychotherapeutic methods organize the work in individual and group forms, which allows to achieve fast and steady results in treatment.

Instrumental therapy: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), light therapy, biofeedback techniques (biofeedback) and others, as well as outpatient and inpatient treatment of depression.

The integrated treatment program for depression at the clinic implies 2 options:

  • Outpatient treatment of depression: you can go to a specialist consultation and undergo all examinations in our clinic; undergo psychotherapy and treatment by other methods, including innovative ones, while living at home.
  • Inpatient treatment of depression: If you live in another city/country and need high-quality treatment of depression or if it is difficult for you to come to the outpatient center, inpatient treatment is possible. All diagnostic examinations, as well as comprehensive treatment can be combined with a stay in comfortable conditions in an outpatient clinic.

Thus, clinical depression is an illness, and as much as we would like to, it is simply impossible to cope with it alone, and it can often be dangerous. Its treatment should be preceded by careful diagnostics – a combination of different kinds of investigations, and often requires the participation of specialists of different profiles, the leading one of which, of course, should be an experienced psychiatrist.

It is important to remember that timely treatment of depression is very important because this mental disorder affects not only the subjective severity of his condition, it greatly affects the social functioning of the patient. People, being unable to continue to work actively, actually become incapacitated and disabled. Relationships in the family are disrupted: with spouses, parents, own children.

According to statistics, it is depression that can shorten a person’s life expectancy, far outstripping even such complex chronic diseases as diabetes, hypertension or asthma. Not treating clinical depression properly can make it a chronic, lingering illness.

Symptoms of clinical depression: identify and manage

Depressed mood occurs periodically in every person. It can be a quite normal reaction to severe life conditions, physical illness and taking certain medications. Clinical depression is a serious medical diagnosis, for which the term “major depressive disorder” is also used. Such a disorder leads to a whole set of symptoms, can occur even against a background of normal mood, without the emergence of depression or longing. But at the same time, clinical depression can lead to the development of related health problems and cause suicide. Timely identification of the symptoms of this condition helps prevent such consequences.

Symptoms of clinical depression

Manifestations of clinical depression can bother a person for months or years, alternating with phases of normalcy. They seriously affect performance and interfere with social and family life. All possible symptoms of clinical depression can be divided into three groups:

  • psychological;
  • physical;
  • social.

Psychological signs.

Major depressive disorder can manifest itself in:

  • Prolonged phases of bad mood or sadness;
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness;
  • low self-esteem;
  • increased tearfulness;
  • feelings of guilt;
  • irritability and intolerance towards people;
  • lack of motivation and interest;
  • difficulty making decisions;
  • an inability to enjoy life;
  • Feelings of anxiety or restlessness;
  • thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

The combination of psychological symptoms can vary. In particular, latent depression is characterized by a normal mood, but the person may experience periodic unmotivated outbursts of emotion. Physical symptoms may also occur.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of clinical depression may include:

  • Changes in normal motor activity and speech (slowness);
  • Appetite and weight abnormalities (appetite and weight decrease more often, but may also increase);
  • Disorders of the stool (constipation);
  • Unclear pains of different localizations;
  • lack of energy;
  • decreased libido;
  • menstrual disorders;
  • Changes in the quality and duration of sleep (insomnia or drowsiness).

Physical symptoms may well cause the patient to seek medical consultation. If they are considered in isolation, diagnosis is totally ineffective: A patient may be misdiagnosed and even given a treatment that does not help.

Social symptoms

Major depressive disorder affects a person’s social life, causing them to

  • Avoid contact with friends;
  • Refuse to participate in social life;
  • neglect their own interests and hobbies.

Clinical depression causes a lot of difficulties in everyday life, family life and work. Its progression can lead to divorce, loneliness, and resignation.

Neurocognitive complaints

Separately, it is worth mentioning the neurocognitive impairments faced by patients with clinical depression. In 2019, an article was published by Australian scientists (Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia) in which they studied a group of young patients with this diagnosis. The scientists concluded that the course of major depressive disorder leads to:

  • Attention deficits, inability to concentrate;
  • memory problems, a lack of recall over long periods of time and difficulty learning new knowledge and skills;
  • difficulties in planning;
  • difficulties in perceiving time;
  • decreased speed of information processing.

Neurocognitive perception declines with the progression of depression. Proper treatment and improvement can restore memory and attention.

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