Guide to managing clinical depression
Clinical depression is extremely difficult to cope with. Most people have bouts of depression here and there, it is perfectly normal. But clinical depression is another thing entirely. Even the depression that is caused by a loss of a loved one or one due to a medical condition is not considered to be “strong” enough to be constituted as clinical. Most people who have clinical depression turn to personal therapy or opt for the best affordable online counseling. In this article, we are going to explore what exactly constitutes clinical depression, as well as some of the ways of managing clinical depression.
What is clinical depression?
In its essence, clinical depression is very much the same as “regular” depression. But the difference lies in the severity of the symptoms. In fact, clinical depression can be said to be the most severe form of depression. You may have already heard about clinical depression under a different name, such as major depressive disorder or simply major depression. Usually, patients that are diagnosed with clinical depression are encouraged to attend therapy. Most of the best online CBT therapy programs, for example, have excellent success rates when it comes to helping patients with their symptoms. But diagnosing clinical depression is not easy.
In order to diagnose whether the patient suffers from clinical depression, many therapists utilize the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth revision). This document was published by the American Psychiatric Association and includes most signs and symptoms associated with clinical depression.
Here are some of the most common symptoms and signs:
- Agitation, restlessness, and/or anxiety
- Trouble concentrating and making decisions
- Trouble remembering things
- Loss of interest in normal activities, including sports, sex, and hobbies
- Weight loss and reduced appetite, or weight gain and increased cravings
- Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness
- Pronounced sadness
- Physical problems that cannot be explained (headaches, back pain, etc.)
- Sleep issues such as sleeping too much or suffering from insomnia
- Extreme lack of energy and increased tiredness
- Outbursts of rage and frustration over small things
- Significantly increased irritability
The list goes on…The aforementioned symptoms are usually quite severe and they tend to create considerable issues when it comes to normal functioning. For example, a person with clinical depression will find it very hard to engage with others at school, work, or almost any social activity. While any depression can feel debilitating, clinical depression can feel unsurmountable.
Who can suffer from clinical depression?
There are no “rules” when it comes to who can suffer from clinical depression. Clinical depression can manifest in anyone, regardless of age. Luckily, the condition is very treatable in most cases, and the best online therapy for depression programs have an excellent track record when it comes to improving the patient’s symptoms. But professional treatment is only one way of managing clinical depression. There are a lot of things that can help the afflicted person manage their symptoms.
Guide to managing clinical depression
Depression induces numerous detrimental feelings in people suffering from it. These feelings make it extremely difficult to lead a normal life. A person suffering from clinical depression may feel that every day is an overwhelming challenge. Going through all the stages of grief is nothing compared to clinical depression. But there are ways that can help you manage even clinical depression. It is not going to be easy, and not all of these ways will work for any given person, but they do help in a considerable way. Here is what you can try:
- Enrolling in therapy for depression
- Acquiring good eating and sleeping habits
Another thing to note is that the religious beliefs of the patients can be extremely important when it comes to managing clinical depression. For example, the belief in a concerned God can improve the patient’s response to treatment, according to Rush University Medical Center and their study. They studied 136 adults that were diagnosed with clinical depression and found that the patients with strong beliefs in a “personal and concerned God” were more likely to see an improvement after the therapy.
But the main driving force behind the improvement was therapy.
Therapy sessions are usually the best way of managing clinical depression
The first thing you may want to do after you suspect that you might suffer from clinical depression is to consult a mental health professional. If you can’t force yourself to leave your home to do so, utilize one of the advantages of online counseling, the ability to communicate with a therapist from the safety and comfort of your own home. You don’t even need to directly talk to the therapist, you can opt to communicate via messages.
First, you need to make a choice between online and in-person therapy. Depending on your circumstances and symptoms, either can be the better option. Online therapy is usually more approachable, though, as well as more affordable. But it is not ideal in all cases. Some patients absolutely require the in-person experience of traditional therapy. But for others, that might be the last thing that they need.
When it comes to treatment modalities, there are quite a few of them that can be of great help. CBT, IPT, psychodynamic therapy, ACT, MBCS, and EFT are all great for dealing with clinical depression. The treatment modality that is best for the patient depends on the unique needs of the patient. All of these therapy modalities share something in common – they all strive to change the way patient interacts with their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Each modality focuses on a different aspect, though. For example, one of the main benefits of emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is the enhanced capability of regulating one’s emotions. Whereas cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), focuses on challenging negative thoughts. And acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is all about personal values and the things the patient cares about. By working with an ACT therapist, the patient will learn how to get to a spot they are comfortable with themselves.
Sometimes, the patients will be best served by combining two or more treatment modalities. Depending on the nature of the depression, the therapist will recommend the ideal modality (or modalities) for the situation.
Other ways of managing clinical depression
While therapy might be the best option, there are numerous ways in which the patient can try and keep even clinical depression in check. Therapy can be expensive, after all, and some patients might find themselves without that option. In those cases, the patient needs to try and use every tool at their disposal.
Medications can be a good place to start
Most of the time, medications are used in conjunction with therapy. However, medications can help manage the initial stages of depression and allow the patient to “make the next step”. To get medications, you will need to visit a psychiatrist, who will recommend the ideal medication for your symptoms. Your therapist will be able to provide you with a recommendation for a psychiatrist. And you can always recognize a bad therapist if they fail to recommend one. While medications are not the ideal solution, as they are simply “numbing the pain”, they can be a powerful tool in managing and coping with depression. For some people, the effect of the medications alone is enough to keep them going through the day.
But medications are not the solution, they are simply a coping mechanism. The best way to cure yourself of depression is to undergo therapy.
Moving your body can help with depression
The most natural “depression management strategy” is simply moving your body around. Physical activity can be of great help even with clinical depression, provided you are not considering it as a form of punishment. What you may want to do is stick to the exercises that you enjoy, whether they are vigorous or not. You don’t need to overexert yourself just for the sake of exercising. Simply walking or doing gentle yoga can do wonders for your depression symptoms.
The most important thing is that you try to exercise and move around as much as you can. Lower energy levels that are usually associated with depression make this hard, however, but not impossible. While you may need to “force” yourself to exercise from time to time, it is well worth it in the end.
Try to eat healthily and get plenty of rest
For most people with clinical depression, getting at least seven hours of sleep per night alongside a healthy diet considerably improved their symptoms. However, establishing this routine is anything but easy. Depression usually makes it difficult to sleep properly, after all. You may find that you regularly oversleep, or that you can’t fall asleep at all. Even so, you should try and create a regular sleep routine. Here is some advice that you might find useful:
- Try to wake up at the same time every day
- Go to bed at the same time every day
- Remove any electronic screens from the bedroom
- Sleep in a dark, comfortable, environment
- Try to utilize relaxation techniques before you go to sleep
Your diet can also affect your depression symptoms. You may want to try a diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates like ones found in vegetables, nuts, fruits, and beans. If you have any trouble preparing meals, consider asking for help from your friends and family members. Or purchase pre-cut, pre-packaged ingredients.
Meditation is an excellent way of managing clinical depression
For many, meditation is this “mystic” process that joins the body and soul into one, which is completely untrue. Meditation is something that absolutely everyone can do. Meditation is not about becoming a different person altogether, meditation is all about awareness training and getting a sense of perspective. By meditating, you are not trying to turn off your feelings and thoughts, you are learning how to observe them. Meditation is a skill, after all. You can learn to practice it, and it only takes a couple of minutes at a time.
It is alright to “fail” meditating. Your focus might wander off or you may forget to take notice of your breath. That is all perfectly fine, what is important is that you keep at it. Many of the patients that were diagnosed with clinical depression testified that meditation, once they got the hang of it, made it much easier to deal with their everyday symptoms.
Socialization can be extremely important
Depression all but requires a “support system”. Especially clinical depression. You will need help from time to time when the symptoms are at their strongest. Therefore, it is quite important to maintain social contacts and partake in at least some social activities, despite your depression. You can even join a support group! Socializing may make you feel less isolated and alone, feel listened to, and feel supported by people. It is a vital activity and is the main focus of interpersonal therapy (IPT). If you don’t feel like socializing at all, you might want to schedule an IPT session. The benefits of interpersonal therapy cannot be overstated, and they might make dealing with clinical depression much easier.
Journaling your activities can help with managing clinical depression
Journaling is a great way to process your emotions, as well as to reflect and distance yourself from negative thoughts and feelings. The simple act of writing down what your thoughts and feelings are can be quite liberating. That being said, journaling can also be quite dangerous when paired with clinical depression. It is a “double-edged sword” of sorts. Before you start journaling, you will want to get guidance from your therapist or your psychiatrist. They will help you with managing clinical depression by providing you with a way to get the most out of journaling, as well as determining if it is a good option for you in the first place.
If you are looking to find out more about online therapy, treatment options, and the best therapy networks out there, you can find all of them within the Consumer Opinion Guide. We also host an extensive knowledge database where you can find numerous tips and tricks on how to handle depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.