Although the word “depressed” is often used to mean “fed up,” “sad,” or “let down,” true clinical depression is very different and can be severe.
Clinical depression, also called major depressive disorder, is characterised by a variety of depressive symptoms that last for at least two weeks. These symptoms are typically severe enough to interfere with your ability to live your day-to-day life and attending to daily responsibilities like work, school or family.
Depression is among the most common forms of mental health concerns worldwide, but many cases go untreated because individuals are not familiar with the symptoms and do not realise they are clinically depressed. Someone may know they are not functioning well, but they may not understand why this is. There is a set of symptoms associated with depression which helps to clarify the diagnosis. These include:
Core (Key) Symptoms
- Persistent sadness or low mood, with or without weepiness.
- Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities, even for activities that you normally enjoy.
Low mood and loss of interest that last at least two weeks are the main identifiers of clinical depression, but they can manifest in many different ways. You may notice:
- Disturbed sleep compared with your usual pattern — including difficulty falling asleep, waking very early, waking up and not being able to fall back to sleep, or sleeping too much.
- Change in appetite — this is often a poor appetite and weight loss. Sometimes the reverse happens with comfort eating and weight gain.
- Fatigue — tiredness, losing energy quickly, or general feelings of weakness.
- Agitation — irritability, restlessness, or seeming quick to anger.
- Poor concentration or indecisiveness — for example, you may find it difficult to read, work, etc. Even simple tasks like getting out of bed can seem difficult or impossible.
- Negative thoughts — feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
- Recurrent thoughts of death — this is not usually a fear of death, more a preoccupation with death and dying. For some people despairing thoughts such as “life’s not worth living” or “I don’t care if I don’t wake up” are common. Sometimes these thoughts progress into thoughts and even plans for suicide.
An episode of depression is usually diagnosed if:
- You have at least five out of the above nine symptoms with at least one of the core symptoms.
- Symptoms cause distress or impair your normal functioning, such as affecting your work performance.
- Symptoms occur most of the time on most days and have lasted at least two weeks.
- The symptoms are not due to a medication side-effect, drug or alcohol misuse, or a physical condition such as an underactive thyroid or pituitary gland.
Trauma and Depression
Clinicians who treat and research depression have looked at the underlying reasons that it develops, and have found that a dysregulated nervous system — a chemical imbalance in the brain, for example — is often at the root of depression symptoms. It’s not well understood what causes this dysregulation; it can be different from person to person, but in many cases, it seems to stem from a particular experience in their life, such as losing a job or the death of a loved one. One common thread among individuals who develop depression is untreated trauma. Trauma is known to affect the nervous system and brain chemistry and causes many common mental health conditions, including depression.
At Khiron House, we specialise in identifying conditions like depression that are created by unaddressed or untreated trauma. Trauma is commonly accompanied by depression and symptoms of depression because it leaves survivors with a reduced capacity to cope with stressful situations or even everyday life. Those who have experienced trauma are left with a heavy emotional burden, including feelings of fear, worthlessness, guilt, or overwhelming worry. Negative thoughts associated with trauma may always be on an individual’s mind and may leave them unable to face daily life. Living with trauma can be exhausting, and can leave someone feeling isolated and without hope that their life will ever get back to normal. All of these concerns can add up quickly to turn into clinical depression.
Treatment for Depression
Overcoming your depression is possible, no matter how difficult it may seem right now. Places like Khiron House exist to help you find ways to get past your trauma and depression, without relying on temporary fixes that only mask your symptoms. We want to teach you productive and sustainable ways to cope with the overwhelming feelings of sadness that trauma can cause. In turn, you will once again be able to fully participate in your life without the constant negativity that depression brings.
Our cutting-edge treatments and therapies can help you take back control of your mind. Through processing your trauma and teaching yourself better patterns of thinking, you can “re-wire” your brain and nervous system so they are back in a productive balance. We offer an array of therapeutic approaches so that you can find the treatments that work best with your strengths and your personal experience with trauma and depression. Some of our methods include:
- Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Somatic equine therapy
- Art therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Family therapy
- 12-step groups
We offer all of our treatments in a secure, comforting environment. Our clients can feel safe and supported as they access and process their trauma and as they practice the skills they need to manage their symptoms in everyday life. And, our open-ended programmes ensure that you have all the time you need to regain your health and confidence before returning to daily life.
Contact Khiron House
The programmes at Khiron House are open to men and women of many ages and all backgrounds who are struggling with concerns due to traumatic experiences. We specialise in helping those whose trauma has manifested as negative behaviour patterns such as anxiety, depressions, compulsions or relationship issues. Our outpatient and inpatient treatment centres are located in London and Oxfordshire, England, respectively, though we welcome clients from across the UK and the world.
Begin your journey today: contact us to find out if our community is right for you. Get in touch with our team by filling out our online form or calling us in the UK on 020 3668 1606 and in the US on 866-801-6184.