July 13, 2024

Severe Depression

Affecting each person in a different way, Severe Depression can be a debilitating that makes a patient feel persistently down and unable to be happy.  This description characterizes most depressive disorders, but in Severe Depression the patient is unable to go through the motions of everyday life.  A few of the people who suffer from Severe Depression may even exhibit psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations.  Left untreated, severe depression can cause extreme difficulties in the workplace and can enhance a patients chances of carrying out a suicide or homicide.

Symptoms of Severe Depression

Generally, Severe Depression has the same symptoms and causes as a typical depressive disorder.  Like its name indicates, the difference between typical depression and Severe Depression lies in the severity of symptoms.  Some of the physical symptoms that patients may experience include:


  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Speaking or moving slower than usual
  • Weight Gain or unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained pains or aches
  • Menstrual changes
  • Lack of energy or loss of interest in sex

There are also several psychological and social symptoms that may indicate if a patient is suffering from Severe Depression.  Some of the most common include:


  • Feelings of guilt, low self-esteem or hopeless
  • A continued sadness or low mood
  • Feelings of irritation, intolerance or helplessness
  • Loss of motivation and a lack of interest in doing things
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Lack of enjoyment in life
  • Feelings of anxiousness
  • Neglect of hobbies and interests
  • Avoidance of friends and social activities
  • Decreased quality of performance at work
  • Difficulties in family, personal or work life

Since depression often comes on gradually, it can be challenging to notice that something is wrong before it is too late.  People may try to cope with depression using alcohol or drugs instead of realizing that they are suffering from Severe Depression.


If an individual has been experiencing these symptoms for more than a few days, they should see their doctor or a psychologist to discover if they are suffering from depression.  Although there are no physical tests for depression, a doctor may perform various urine or blood tests to make sure that their symptoms are not due to a different medical ailment.  If other causes are ruled out, a doctor will ask the patient questions to learn more about the patient’s symptoms before they reach a diagnosis.  During this consultation, a patient should be very open about the symptoms they are experiencing so the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis.

Causes of Severe Depression

Individuals who already have a family history of depression are more likely to develop Severe Depression.  Any form of life changing event like a loss of a family member or getting laid off can cause depression to be start.  Lifestyle factors like a divorce, financial difficulties or severe injury can also contribute.  After a traumatic event or even after giving birth, patients may experience an episode of depression that can spiral out of control if left untreated.  Understandably, patients who are being treated for life-threatening or chronic illnesses like cancer or coronary heart disease may develop depression.

Personality traits like low self-esteem or a critical nature can make depression more likely.  Patients who already have developed depression may try to cope by indulging in alcohol or drugs.  Although these may help the patient to relax and forget their problems temporarily, it can worsen the symptoms of depression overtime.  Over a lifetime, one in ten people will be diagnosed with depression across all social, gender and economic groups.

Non-Medication Treatment Options for Severe Depression

Patients who have been diagnosed with Severe Depression have a range of different treatment options that include medication and forms of therapy.

Support Group Therapy

Since other patients are experiencing some of the same feelings, a doctor may recommend a self-help support group.  In a supportive environment, patients can talk with others and sort through their feelings.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If there is no self-help group nearby, a doctor may suggest using cognitive behavioral therapy to help the patient understand how past events and behaviors may be influencing a patient’s present life.  This form of therapy focuses on reshaping negative thoughts and actions into positive ones and changing how patients think about the world.  By overcoming negative attitudes, patients can learn how improve their own lives and escape from depression.

Interpersonal Therapy

If the Severe Depression was brought on by a death or a relationship problem, the patient may try interpersonal therapy.  This approach helps patients to learn how to manage their relationships and alleviate interpersonal problems that may be contributing to their negative outlook.  As a part of a regular counseling session, this approach has proven success in helping patients to recover.  Patients who leave counseling or interpersonal therapy are better able to cope with crises or problems in their life.


One last recommendation a doctor may make that excludes medication is a regular course of exercise.  Exercise has been proven to improve moods and alleviate depression when incorporated into a treatment program.

Man with DepressionPrescription Medication Options for Severe Depression

With almost 30 kinds of antidepressants, patients are presented with numerous medications that can help with Severe Depression.  Since different people have different body chemistries, one medication that benefits someone else may not help a particular patient.  A doctor will work with the patient to decide which medication is the best choice.


One of the more modern versions of antidepressants is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor like Seroxat, Prozac or Cipramil.  This class of drugs works to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is thought by scientists to be responsible for happy moods and can help alleviate Severe Depression.  Although they come with a series of side effects including nausea and headaches, these effects will often improve over time.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

For moderate to severe depression, doctors will often prescribe a form of tricyclic antidepressants.  These antidepressants also work to raise levels of serotonin and can also increase noradrenaline levels in the brain.  Overall, this class of antidepressants is generally safe and any side effects normally decrease after seven to ten days.

Anyone who has been experiencing these symptoms for an extended period of time should seek help.  Although depression can sometimes be resolved on its own, seeking the assistance of a medical professional reduces the risk of the patient causing harm to others or themselves.  A doctor can discuss potential therapies and medication that will help a patient recover from Severe Depression.


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