Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health disorders diagnosed today. In recent years, the number of people diagnosed with it has risen dramatically, partly due to changes in culture and a helpful increase in mental health awareness. Clinical depression can affect anyone. In order to treat it, It’s important to understand what it is and what symptoms a person may experience. Depression symptoms often look different in children and adolescents than in adults, and may be harder to identify. Therefore, in this blog, we’ll be focusing on seven of the most common symptoms of depression that primarily affect adults.
Please note that diagnosing clinical depression and other mental health disorders should be left to professional physicians. Also, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1. Feelings of Hopelessness and Helplessness
Clinical depression results from an imbalance of chemicals and hormones in the brain. It is not just a feeling of sadness, grief, or other negative emotions or moods. It can include these things, but it is generally deeper and more complex than that. Constant or ongoing feelings of despair, helplessness, and pessimism are common when someone has clinical depression.
Many people who struggle with clinical depression describe it as feeling like they’re stuck in a dark cloud of negative emotions, low motivation, and self-hatred. These feelings aren’t necessarily connected to outside influences, which means that people who struggle with it likely can’t just “fix” it by changing their situation or doing things that make them happy. These feelings and other symptoms are often only treatable through medication and/or psychotherapy.
It is important to note, however, that while depression may have nothing to do with outside influences, these influences may still be able to trigger bouts of depression. Some of these triggers can include:
- Changes in environment
- Changes in relationships or family dynamics
- Difficulties at work and in social interactions
- Reminders of past hurt
2. Disinterest in Activities or Lack of Motivation
These feelings of hopelessness and helplessness often lead to a belief that nothing is worth doing and disinterest in activities or jobs that were once exciting. Many people who experience clinical depression have difficulty finding a reason to continue being active in their own lives. As a result of a complex series of thoughts and feelings, they may come to believe that nothing they do matters and that they are alone in their struggles. Individuals with clinical depression may also find it difficult to feel joy or happiness even when doing activities they genuinely love.
3. Difficulty With Mental Processing
Clinical depression can disrupt regular mental activities and thought processes. It can contribute to forgetfulness, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and trouble with making decisions. It may also inhibit creative energy and lead to mental and emotional fatigue.
4. Changes in Weight and Eating Behaviors
Clinical depression often affects the body as well as the mind. Depending on the situation, it can lead to a loss of or increase in appetite, which can lead to rapid weight loss or gain. People who experience clinical depression may also find it difficult to feel comfortable in their own bodies, as self-image and self-esteem issues are often linked to depression.
5. Difficulty Sleeping
Unfortunately, clinical depression often affects the chemicals in the brain that assist with getting a good night’s rest. This may mean that people with clinical depression find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, or it may mean that they sleep for too long and have difficulty getting out of bed every day. This inability to get adequate rest or state of being over-rested can contribute to a constant feeling of exhaustion. Exhaustion may then lead to continued depression, which keeps the cycle going and makes it difficult to break free.
6. Similar Mental Health Diagnoses
Chronic anxiety and bipolar disorder are two other mental health diagnoses that are often linked to clinical depression. While not always the case, if you have one of these conditions, you may also experience clinical depression.
Depression is not known to cause anxiety or bipolar disorder, nor do anxiety and bipolar necessarily cause depression. However, the symptoms of each of these mental health disorders may be similar, and if you do have clinical depression along with anxiety or another mental health disorder, these conditions may become linked. In this case, it’s important to talk to your doctor about a customized treatment that can ease all of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
7. Self-Destructive Thoughts and Habits
Severe clinical depression may also show itself through dangerous thought patterns and behaviors, such as self-harm, recklessness, and suicidal thoughts. People who struggle in this way may also develop an unhealthy obsession with death. If someone you know is showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you can take action to help them by:
- Calling 911 or your local emergency number.
- Staying with the person until help arrives.
- Removing any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm if it is safe to do so.
- Listening, but not judging, arguing, threatening, or yelling.
- Contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255
Community Access Network Is Here For You!
If you or someone you love are currently experiencing any of the above symptoms or symptoms that are related to them, please know that you are not alone. We care about you and would love to help you overcome the challenges you’re facing. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.