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Clinical Depression

 
UW Health psychiatrist and psychologists address clinical depression, a mental illness with extreme feelings of sadness, low self-worth and emptiness.
 
What is Clinical Depression?

Clinical depression is a mental illness with extreme feelings of sadness, low self-worth and emptiness. It involves the body, mood and thoughts. It can interfere with how you work, eat, sleep and enjoy life. Clinical depression lasts for weeks or months.
 
What Causes Depression?
 
Some types of depression run within a family. This could be genetics-related, or it could be environment-related. Depression may also be caused by an imbalance of chemicals within your brain. Certain life events like extreme stress or grief may bring on depression or prevent a full recovery. Depressed people are at risk for suicide. In some people depression occurs even when life is going well.
 
Signs and Symptoms of Depression 
  • Feeling sad, "blue" or "down in the dumps"
  • Not able to enjoy life
  • Decreased interest in family, work, recreation and sex
  • Negative thoughts of the past and present
  • Low self-esteem; feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Anxiety and/or great fears
  • Increase or decrease in eating or weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Chronic fatigue and decreased energy
  • Aches and pains
  • Restlessness, pacing and/or hand wringing
  • Impaired ability to work or perform daily routines such as dressing, eating or washing
  • In severe depression, false beliefs (delusions) and/or hearing and seeing things that others don’t (hallucinations)
  • Ideas of suicide 
Treatment of Depression 
  • Medications
  • Community support programs
  • Counseling
  • Medical and psychiatric follow-up and support
  • Hospitalization
 
Crisis Service
 
People with depression often respond well to treatment. It may take weeks for symptoms to start to go away. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin so you can feel relief from the symptoms.