By Judy Wellsworth
No human being has ever walked the planet Earth for any length of time without experiencing sadness, a feeling of isolation, or anger. Those feelings may be triggered by any number of events, from the loss of a loved one to the fear which arises from the loss of one’s livelihood, to the sense of failure resulting when something for which one had worked very hard did not materialize.
Most people, while they may at first feel emotionally devastated by a bad outcome, are in a reasonably short time to move on and face life again. But in those who cannot shake off their feelings of loss and grief, and find themselves too overwhelmed to even perform their basic daily tasks, clinical depression may be developing.
The Fun Is Gone
Clinical depression goes beyond appropriate sadness and literally takes over the life of its sufferers. They often find themselves without purpose, unable to, and not interested in, getting out of bed in the morning. Even those who force themselves to perform necessary tasks like eating and grooming themselves do not enjoy it. Some victims of clinical depression may seek comfort in chemical of alcohol abuse; in the most severe cases, clinical depression can cause a person to become suicidal.
One of the characteristics of clinical depression is that it continues for several weeks or months. Because of the length of its duration, the victim can suffer physical effects if he or she stops eating, exercising, or attending to any medical needs.
Clinical depression differs from bipolar disorder, or manic depression, as it is sometimes called; sufferers of bipolar disorder move from being severely depressed to being manically happy. In clinical depression, there are no such mood swings. It may take some time for a correct diagnosis, because bipolar mania does not occur in a regular pattern.
Depression Is Never Normal
There is a widely-held belief that as the elderly, those who are ill, or those in stressful financial straits are simply reacting normally if they become clinically depressed. But clinical depression is not a normal mental state, and will not disappear on its own.
One of the three types of clinical depression, depression with psychotic features, in fact, can be so severe that it causes hallucinations and delusions. Clinical depression is thought to contribute to almost fifty percent of all suicides.
Given the fact that an estimated nineteen million Americans suffer at least one bout of clinical depression each year, public awareness of the signs of clinical depression and the availability of treatment should be made a priority.
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