In today’s post I want to discuss Clinical Depression.
The Mayo Clinic describes clinical depression as, “a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” I think it’s important to differentiate this from grief. Grief is about the response to an identifiable loss, while clinical depression is the medical diagnosis.
Under this definition, out of developed countries, the United States has one of the highest rates of clinical depression diagnoses and also one of the highest rates of people who are prescribed antidepressants.
The CDC states that nationally, “[Clinical] Depression is a serious medical illness and an important public health issue. The economic burden of [clinical] depression, including workplace costs, direct costs, and suicide-related costs, was estimated to be $210.5 billion in 2010.”
In 2018, Minnesota Community Measurement conducted an extensive survey that discovered, younger people are having higher rates of clinical depression, which, in turn, lead to chronic mental health issues as adults. In addition, suicide rates, and substance abuse issues, are climbing.
In the US, we have a stigma with mental health. While our reported clinical depressions are high, I think our unreported clinical depression rates are even higher, because we have such a stigma. There are numerous references and resources for people out there struggling with these things. Therefore, at the end of this posting I’ve provided a list of links to professional organizations that provide such services.
Clinical depression is classified in two main ways: one, by the source of the depression, and the other, by the degree of the depression.
Regarding the first classification, the depression source refers to whether the current depressive episode is due to an external factor (in other words if the depression is due to an environmental situation, such as trauma), or due to an internal factor (in others words a physiological imbalance, either due to genetic predisposition or to medication side-effects).
For the second classification, the degree of depression refers to either the time-frame of the current depressive episode, or it’s intensity. For example, a depressive episode can be acute, meaning it is occurring immediately, or chronic, meaning it occurs over a long period of time. Regarding intensity, a depressive episode can be mild, moderate, or severe. Therefore, using these terms, the degree of depression can range from mild and acute, to severe and chronic.
The process for finding an effective treatment for clinical depression is rigorous and can take some time.
Regarding medications, some common types of antidepressants (and their brand names), used both individually and in combination with each other, are: Fluoxetine (Prozac), Bupropione (Wellbutrin), Mirtazapine (Remeron),Trazodone, Lithium, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), and Buspirone (Buspar). Some of these medications take effect immediately, while others require weeks, or months, to reach therapeutic levels.
Currently there are a number of studies using psilocybin (the “magic” part in “magic mushrooms”) as a potential treatment for depression. So far, these studies are getting good reviews, but further research is needed to look at long-term outcomes.
Research shows that massage therapy is another potential way to help support individuals suffering from clinical depression. For example, one of the side effects of chronic pain can be clinical depression. Not only can the pain itself cause people to feel depressed, but the pharmacological treatment for the pain can also induce side effects that range from digestive to cognitive issues. I believe, and the research is starting to support this, that massage therapy, when done correctly, benefits people with chronic pain. By addressing the pain, massage therapy addresses the source of the depression and so indirectly helps these people with their depression.
In the next post I will talk about how stress and emotions may lead to trauma which may lead to addiction.
Anxiety And Depression Association of America (www.adaa.org)
Mental Health.gov (www.mentalhealth.gov)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.mami.org)
Mental Health America (www.mhanational.org)
Mental Health Minnesota (www.mentalhealthmn.org)
Crisis Hotline – (877) 235-4525
Hennepin County Mental Health (612) 596-9438
Ramsey County Mental Health (651) 266- 7890
Ramsey County Crisis Hotline (651) 266-7900