Have you been feeling sad, miserable, or down in the dumps? These are normal emotions that everyone encounters at one time or another. After all, no one can be perfectly happy every second of his life. However, when these feelings of sadness or frustration last for a long period of time and start to interfere with everyday life, you may not be merely having the blues – you just might be experiencing true clinical depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that may stem from chemical imbalances in the brain, may be triggered by life events or situations, or may be caused by medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and other major illness. It transcends all ages, races, gender and economic levels. Nowadays, we even hear of children and teenagers suffering from depression.

Down in the Dumps or Clinically Depressed?
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True clinical depression should not be treated lightly as this could have disastrous and often fatal outcomes if left untreated. Sufferers of depression often view everything negatively and are unable to resolve problems through positive means. It is not uncommon for those suffering from depression to resort to violence or suicide to end their perceived troubles. Severe depression may also lead to psychotic problems such as hallucinations and delusions.

It is thus very important to watch out for symptoms of depression and to consult a medical practitioner to properly address these symptoms. If diagnosed with depression, a person may be given antidepressant medication with dosages strictly monitored by the doctor. Counseling and other forms of therapy would also be highly recommended. Extreme cases of depression may warrant confinement in a psychiatric hospital especially if the sufferer poses threat to himself and to the community.

Treatment may be in the form of antidepressant drugs, such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors, and counseling through talk therapy or support groups. Non-invasive clinical procedures such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS) may also be used to treat those that do not respond to medication and other treatments.

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