Recognizing Signs of Clinical Depression


Clinical depression is more than being sad after a bad breakup or feeling some occasional apathy. It is a serious condition that drastically impairs the quality of a person’s life. It is a severely misunderstood condition, and having a condition that is often dismissed and more often misunderstood may make a patient’s condition genuinely become worse. Patients who do not receive treatment often continue to get worse as time passes. Shockingly, nearly half of all patients suffering Clinical Depression are never diagnosed or treated. This may be because patients simply do not realize they are experiencing symptoms of Clinical Depression. They may believe life is just hard and that their negative feelings make sense, or they may have been told “You just have a bad attitude” so many times that they believe it. Symptoms of Depression may include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiousness, or emptiness

  • Difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, and/or difficulty making decisions

  • Slowed speech, thinking, or physical movements

  • Fatigue/lack of energy

  • Negative feelings, such as of excessive guilt, hopelessness, and/or worthlessness

  • Fixation on past failures or placing blame on oneself for things outside of his control

  • Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia, restless sleep, or excessive sleep

  • Feeling restless or irritable, or being prone to outbursts of anger

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Appetite changes, such as overeating or having no interest in eating

  • Chronic pain that does not improve even with treatment, such as headaches or stomachaches

  • Thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death

Approximately ten to fifteen percent of Depression patients commit suicide. If you know or suspect somebody you care about has Depression and notice the following signs, encourage him or her to seek help immediately.

  • Suddenly switching from a prolonged period of sadness to calmness or even happiness

  • Frequently discussing death or incorporating death into creative projects

  • Engaging in abnormally dangerous behavior – reckless driving, being careless with medication, excessive drug or alcohol consumption, etc.

  • Resolving loose ends in life, such as creating or revising a will

  • Giving away previously cherished possessions

  • Sudden, unprompted visits and/or phone calls to loved ones

  • Talking about suicide

If you suspect somebody you care about is contemplating suicide, seek help immediately. This help may be found in the patient’s doctor or therapist, a local emergency room, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The medical system in America is often grossly unprepared to help patients experiencing suicidal ideation, so the best thing a loved one can do to help a suicidal friend is be supportive. Drive your loved one to therapy sessions, stay with her while she phones a hotline, or wait with her while she is being admitted to the emergency room. Patients suffering Depression often feel nobody cares about them, and being shuffled from one professional to another to another does little to dissuade this. Professional medical attention is absolutely crucial for a Depressed patient, but having a strong support system may make that medical help far more effective.


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