Depression: Or just a low mood?
Clinical Depression: An overview
is clinical depression?
Whenever we don't feel particularly happy, does not mean that we are “clinically
frequently, we're responding to sad events, fatigue, or unhappy
thoughts, rather then any form of depression. The liberal use of this
term confuses a perfectly normal mood swing from the psychiatric syndromes of
depression. All of us experience sad thoughts, dejection, and other
life experiences which put us in a relatively low mood, but only a limited
number experience true clinical depression.
thoughts and normal dejection is seldom severe enough to effect daily
functioning to a significant degree or persist for a long time. Down-turns in
mood can even be beneficial on occasion. Time spent contemplating our life and
experiences can lead us to explore our inner selves, our true value's, and our
way of life, and we may often emerge with a sense of greater strength, clarity
and resolve. Clinical depression on the other hand has no redeeming
characteristics. It brings about severe long-lasting impairment in our daily
functioning. Individuals suffering from clinical depression may have an
incredibly difficult time carrying on even the most minor of life’s duties and
Clinical Depression: How common is
estimates have concluded that between 5% and 10% of adults in the United States
suffer from a severe unipolar pattern (depression without mania) of clinical
depression in any given year, while another 3% to 5% suffer from milder forms of
depression. These prevalence rates have been found to be similar in England,
Canada, and many other countries throughout the world. Approximately 17% of all
adults worldwide may experience an episode of severe clinical depression at some
point in their lives. A worldwide research project has suggested that the risk
of experiencing clinical depression has steadily risen since about 1915.
Although it may begin at any age, the average age of onset is now 27 in the United States,
and has dropped with each successive generation.
majority of studies in most countries have found that women are at least twice
as likely as men to experience episodes of severe unipolar clinical depression.
Some studies have found that as many as 26% of women may have an episode of
depression sometime in their lives, compared with approximately 12% for men.
Among children, the prevalence of clinical depression is similar for both girls
prevalence rates seem to hold constant among the various socioeconomic classes.
Also, there have been found to be few differences among the different ethnic
groups. In the United States however, middle-aged white Americans have slightly
higher rates than middle-aged African-Americans, but the rates for younger and
older adults are approximately the same in both populations. Approximately two
thirds of people with clinical depression recover within four to six months,
some with and some without treatment. However, among these individuals, most
have been found to have at least one recurrent episode of clinical depression at
a later point in their lives.
Information Adapted from
Ronald J. Comer’s
Additional information and webpage by
Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
(Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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