Signs of major depression

People living with clinical depression have a harder time coping with negative events. Low energy, lack of interest in social activities or friends and family, and thoughts of death or suicide are all signs of depression.

Depression becomes clinical depression when the symptoms are severe.

Individuals living with manic depression have periods of depression and periods of feeling unusually high or elated. The highs get out of hand, and the manic person can behave in a reckless manner, sometimes causing financial ruin or becoming involved in the justice system.

Depression becomes clinical depression when the symptoms are severe. They can last for several weeks, and  interfere with everyday life. Depression is a mental illness that has unique features. No one person will have all of the symptoms present at any one time. Depressive illness can change the way a person thinks and behaves, and how their body functions.

Some of the signs to look for are:

  • Sad, depressed mood for most of the day, everyday
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in normal activities
  • Sleep difficulties - disrutped sleep, insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time
  • Shift in activity level – less activity and more agitation
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Negative view of self
  • self-blame for life circumstances
  • Feelings of worthlessness.
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Slowed thinking, difficulty in concentrating and making decisions.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Avoiding other people.

Causes of depression

The most common factors that lead to depression are distressing life event

Depression can result from a variety of sources, ranging from biological to life events. Researchers are still searching for more evidence to help us understand more about depression. For example, there may be a genetic link to depression since people with a family history of depression are more likely to experience it. The most common factors that lead to depression are distressing life events such as the death of a loved one, a biochemical imbalance in the brain and psychological factors like having a negative view of life.

A person can experience feelings of depression for a long time after a loss or failure. The length of their experience with depression will likely reflect the significance of the event that has taken place.

Clinical depression may also last for short or long periods. One myth is that clinical depression never leaves. It will subside and the feelings will leave after a period of a few months if left to work themselves out. Psychotherapy and the proper prescriptions can bring relief much faster. Some professionals treat depression differently. Many believe that the feelings underlying the depression must be resolved before full healing can take place. You and your doctor can decide what treatment is best for you.

You and your doctor can decide what treatment is best for you.

Once major or clinical depression sets in, it is probable that it will come back again in the future. Sometimes depression can be seasonal and can come back around the same time each year. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Sometimes individuals experience periods of larger-than-life happiness called mania. The occurrence of both depression and mania at separate times is called bipolar affective disorder. Repeated experiences of depression without mania are termed unipolar affective disorder. Uni means one, and in this case the depression stays in one emotional state.


There are many effective treatment options for depression. Besides a number of prescription drugs, there are also many therapeutic treatments. Ideally, someone with clinical depression would undergo both forms of treatment for the fastest results.

Many people who are seriously depressed often wait too long to seek treatment. Some may not seek treatment at all. If you or someone you know is has the symptoms of depression, talk to a professional - your family doctor can help you.

Family support

Living with someone who has depression can be challenging. People who are living with depression may isolate themselves from family and friends.They may get agitated when they feel someone is invading their privacy.  Some family members feel a need to fix their loved one’s depression. They try telling the individual what they should and should not do. This not always the best approach.

As a family member, it is important to listen and to be as supportive as possible. Take the time to let them know they are loved and that they are loveable. They need to know you are looking out for their best interest.

Many therapists feel that it is important to include the family in the therapeutic process. Being open to supporting a friend or family member gives you - and them - hope.