What is major depression?
- Jennifer Baxt, LMFT, LMHC
Major depression, also referred to as clinical depression, is a unipolar disorder that is considered one of the more serious types of depression. In general, there is no apparent single cause for a person developing this condition. Some suggested probable causes for a person falling into a major depression could be a result of a traumatic experience a person has been through, or even the combination of a number of disappointments throughout their life. There is also the odd occasion where a person may be suffering from a major depression for no apparent reason. Depending on the reason, a person may go through bouts of major depression at different frequencies, meaning a person could fall into it only once, or many times throughout their life. It all depends on what a person has experienced and how they have chosen to deal with the depression.
What research has shown is that major depression is a medical condition that can, in many cases, be helped with proper treatment. While much has been discovered about the possible biological reasons for the onset of depression, there is still much that is not clearly understood about it even though more is being found out every day. Genetics, for example, could be one of the many causes of the depression. This could be very true for those who have been diagnosed with clinical depression that have no apparent reason for developing the condition. It has been discovered that if a person comes from a family that has a history of depression, there is a heightened chance the offspring may develop it as well. For those who do not really have a family history of it, it is possible that too much stress from work, a traumatic experience, or even abuse are possible reasons for leading someone into depression.
This disorder has many different symptoms a person suffering this condition may exhibit. It is not usual for multiple symptoms to show up in a person all at once; instead, one or two symptoms may appear for a while before another one is noticed. Some symptoms often associated with major depression are changes in a persons sleeping or eating habits, trouble concentrating or focusing on a task, loss of interest in activities they would normally find an interest in, agitation or irritability, a more negative view of his or herself, or a feeling of helplessness and worthlessness. Some more serious symptoms related to this could be the development of physical pain and/or even thoughts of suicide.
Whatever the symptoms may be, there are treatments available. Professionals are out there who have devoted their lives to helping people suffering from such a condition. Treatment starts with a person realizing that they might be suffering from major depression. Finding someone to talk to about this is the next step. After finding a medical professional who can help them, there are many prescriptions and programs people can go through that will help them overcome their depression, regardless of how long a person has suffered with the condition. While treatment is available, it takes time. Nothing is a quick fix. It may take a bit of time before the professional helps the patient find the right medication or program for them. Every individual is different and unique, so something that might work for someone may not necessarily work for someone else. In the end, most patients who seek help come out better for it.