Clinical Depression

Its Chief Causes and Symptoms

If you are constantly in despair and feeling a sense of hopelessness and despondency, then this is an indication that you may be suffering from clinical depression, commonly known as major depressive disorder.


What Is Clinical Depression or Major Depression?

Clinical or major depression is a mental disorder or illness in which patients suffer from mood swings. With this disorder, sufferers find it difficult to sleep, work, carry on with everyday tasks, or enjoy fun activities with friends and loved ones around, notes Dr. Alexander Salerno, a board-certified internist. Furthermore, primary care physicians are typically the first-line clinicians who encounter depression in their patients. Some statistics state that as many as 55% of patients entering primary care doctors’ offices have some form of clinical depression, and what is worse is that a majority of these patients go undiagnosed and untreated.


Chief Causes of Clinical Depression

There are quite a number of underlying causes and conditions that may tend to increase the incidence of factors related to depression. Some of the common causes are:

  • Abuse: Sometimes thoughts and memories of abusive physical activities or emotional abuse experienced in the past linger long after the actual event, which may cause depression at various stages of the lifespan, including late in life.
  • Medications: There are certain drugs and medications, such as Accutane—which is generally prescribed for the treatment of acne—that may increase signs of depression. Also, both corticosteroids and the antiviral drug interferon-alpha increase a tendency toward depression. And then there are various abused substances, such as alcohol and recreational drugs, which once caused euphoria but subsequently cause profound listlessness and depression.
  • Conflict/Disagreement: Many times, personal conflicts or disputes with close friends or family members may end up increasing depression problems in an individual.
  • A Severe Loss or Death: Anguish, the death of a close one, or deep sorrow may at times amplify depression risks.
  • Genetics: A family history of depression may tend to increase the risk. People are generally aware that depression is quite a complex trait, which can be inherited from one generation to another. However, the genetics of psychiatric disorders is not at all plain or simple, as found in genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s chorea.
  • Serious Sickness or Illness: In some cases, the onset of or reaction to major illness, such as cancers, dementia, and hypothyroidism, may cause depression, and post-open heart surgery patients are also susceptible.


Symptoms of Clinical Depression

Dr Alexander G Salerno, MD, of Salerno Medical Associates has found that many people do feel depressed and low at some phase of their lives; however, a person who is suffering from clinical depression will be in a state of depression all through the day, most particularly during the morning time, and will no longer show interest in everyday activities and relationships.


Let us go through the symptoms that are commonly found in patients who are suffering from clinical depression:

  • Loss of energy, tiredness, and fatigue throughout almost all of the day.
  • Feeling insignificant and unimportant most of the time, almost every single day.
  • Damaged and impaired concentration, a sense of hesitancy.
  • Hypersomnia, which is a habit of excessive sleeping, much of the day, and insomnia at night.
  • Feeling weak and slowed down along with signs of restlessness.
  • Recurring thoughts about committing suicide and death.
  • No pleasure in any kind of activities practically every single day.
  • A significant loss or gain in weight, generally more than 5 percent of body weight, in about a month’s time.


Some people during their lifetime undergo one or two event cycles of clinical depression, whilst there are others who experience it at a far greater frequency and for longer intervals, as clinically reported by Dr. Salerno. Furthermore, in a few families signs of clinical depression may occur from one generation to the next; depression is thus an inheritable condition.


Since 2001, Dr. Alexander Salerno has led Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues, including alcohol addiction.