Clinical depression is characterized by long and severe bouts of sadness and emotional detachment. Unlike the temporary moments of misery that can touch any individual, clinical depression interferes with one’s ability to function normally in society and may even trigger suicidal thoughts.
Clinical depression is one of the most common mental disorders. More conservative studies say that 8% of the world adult population suffer from it; other research pegs the figure as high as 17%. While it can affect people of all ages, gender, race or socioeconomic standing, women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop it. Studies also show a rapid increase in the incidence of depression in the last 30 years.
Clinical depression is not just a sign of emotional weakness; it is caused by a real imbalance in the brain. Moods are controlled by brain chemicals called neutrotransmitters, which include norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, and people who are predisposed to clinical depression show significantly higher (or lower) levels of these and related chemicals in the brain. Clinical depression can be caused by structural deformities in the brain, dietary deficiencies, side effects of medication, or degenerative neurological disorders.
Clinical depression can be controlled through anti-depresssants and psychotherapy. However, not all drugs work for everybody, and people may have to try several methods of treatment before finding the best one for them. There is also an increase in “all natural” treatments such as light therapy and hypnotherapy, but these have not been clinically proven to provide long-term results.
Web Resources On Clinical Depression
Depression Learning Path
Book Resources On Clinical Depression
Cognitive Therapy of Depression by Aaron T. Beck, et al
Clinical Depression: A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References by Icon Health Publications