Living with clinical depression is not the same as having a down day. Someone living with clinical depression has a persistent mood disorder. It disrupts feelings, thoughts, and the activities of daily living such as working, studying, and eating. True depression does not go away with the dawn of a new day. A person who is clinically depressed experiences some combination of the condition's symptoms every day for most of the day over the course of at least two weeks. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward recovery.
Each individual living with depression has a unique experience. However, depression includes a low mood and some of the following common symptoms.
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, anxiety, or pessimism
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Change in appetite
Loss of interest in preferred activities
Difficulty with concentration, memory, or decision making
Irritability or anger
Weight loss or gain
Suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death
Unexplained physical pain or digestive problems
Recovering from Depression
While a down day goes away on its own, depression does not. Usually, it takes a combination of medication and counseling to bring relief from the suffering. Several antidepressants are available. Sometimes it takes a period of trial and error to find the right antidepressant. An antidepressant needs to be taken daily for about four weeks to see if it is effective.
The goal of individual counseling, also called talk therapy, is to improve the emotional state of the person living with depression. A licensed counselor uses evidence-based techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Through CBT, the person living depression learns to replace negative or erroneous thoughts with healthy ones. Someone who has received CBT may stay healthy longer than someone who only took an antidepressant. Patients frequently continue to use the strategies they learned during CBT when they are no longer seeing a counselor.