What Is Clinical Depression?
"Joy in the Mourning"® Center for Life Losses
How do I know if my depression is "normal" and I can deal with it myself, or if it is becoming "clinical" and I need to get some help?
Some depression is very normal and is to be expected following a significant loss.
Depression becomes "clinical" if you have five or more of the following symptoms nearly every day for most of the day that continue for two weeks or longer without a break and haven't improved within two months. The symptoms affect your ability to function. You may notice the symptoms yourself, or others who know you best may notice them.
- You feel very "down" and depressed most of the day, nearly every day.
- You have almost no interest in, and get almost no pleasure from, nearly all activities that you normally would enjoy.
- You have little or no appetite, or you want to eat much more than usual.
- Your normal weight has increased or decreased by more than 5% in a month's time.
- You can't sleep or don't sleep well, or else you sleep too much or want to sleep all the time. Your normal sleep patterns are disrupted.
- You feel very "jumpy" and agitated, or in very "slow motion" and not very responsive.
- You feel very tired and have little or no energy.
- You feel worthless.
- You feel very guilty (even if there is no logical reason to feel the guilt).
- You have great difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
- You think obsessively about death nearly every day:
- You consider what it would be like to be dead.
- You decide that others would be "just fine" or "better off" without you.
- You consider the possibility of hurting yourself or of taking your own life.
- You decide you would be better off dead than alive.
- You think about ways to put yourself out of your misery.
- You formulate a suicide plan.
If you are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, please see your doctor or a counselor to get some help. Especially get help if you are toying with the idea of suicide. Clinical depression is very treatable. You can get relief from the symptoms of depression with the right treatment. Life will be much better if you can feel better.
Remember: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."