It’s only human to feel sad, alone, and detached from time to time, but if these feelings seem to stick around longer than usual or you start to feel like they’re significantly interfering with your life, you could be suffering from clinical depression.
Clinical depression (also known as major depressive disorder) is a mood disorder that manifests emotionally and physically and is known to cause persistent feelings of sadness and apathy. If you’re suffering from depression, you’re likely to feel alone, emotional, and uninterested in many of the activities that you used to enjoy. For example, maybe you used to go to a yoga class followed by dinner with friends every Wednesday night, but recently have been feeling withdrawn and haven’t had much interest in attending.
If it feels like you hear about depression a lot, this is probably because it’s one of the most common illnesses out there. In the United States, clinical depression affects about 7% of the adult population, and about a quarter of all adults will experience it at some point in their lives.
Clinical depression can strike suddenly and seemingly for no reason, but it’s often brought on by significant life events such as the death of a loved one, relationship troubles (including friendship, family, or a partner), the end of a relationship, moving, loss of a job or changing jobs, social isolation, graduation, abuse, and more. One notable factor about clinical depression is that it affects women at nearly twice the rate as men. This is due to a number of factors, but many are tied to hormonal changes that occur throughout the lifespan alongside menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and miscarriage. Should you notice changes in your mood surrounding any of these situations, or even seemingly out of the blue, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor.
Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect that you’re suffering from clinical depression:
- Trouble concentrating and focusing
- Changes in sleep patterns, whether sleeping more or less than usual, or suffering from insomnia
- Loss of interest in activities
- Withdrawal from close friends and family
- Having a short temper
- Suicidal thoughts
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling more emotional than usual
- Feeling apathetic
- A diminished sex drive
- Significant change in body weight, whether weight loss or weight gain
If you have any concerns or questions about clinical depression and want to speak with a knowledgeable doctor, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.