Major Depression (Clinical Depression)
What Are the Signs of Major Depression in Men?
Depression in men is significantly underreported. Men who suffer from clinical depression are less likely to seek help or even talk about their experience.
Signs of depression in men may include irritability, anger, or drug and alcohol abuse (substance abuse can also be a cause of depression rather than the result of it). Suppressing negative feelings can result in violent behavior directed both inwardly and outwardly. It can also result in an increase in illness, suicide, and homicide.
What Triggers Major Depression?
Some common triggers or causes of major depression include:
- Loss of a loved one through death, divorce, or separation
- Social isolation or feelings of being deprived
- Major life changes -- moving, graduation, job change, retirement
- Personal conflicts in relationships, either with a significant other or a superior
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
How Is Major Depression Diagnosed?
A health professional -- such as your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist -- will perform a thorough medical evaluation. You might receive a screening for depression at a regular doctor’s visit. The professional will ask about your personal and family psychiatric history and ask you questions that screen for the symptoms of major depression.
There is no blood test, X-ray, or other laboratory test that can be used to diagnose major depression. However, your doctor may run blood tests to help detect any other medical problems that have symptoms similar to those of depression. For example, hypothyroidism can cause some of the same symptoms as depression, as can alcohol or drug use and abuse, some medications, and stroke.
How Is Major Depression Treated?
Major or clinical depression is a serious but treatable illness. Depending on the severity of symptoms, your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist may recommend treatment with an antidepressant medication. He or she may also suggest psychotherapy, or talk therapy, in which you address your emotional state.
Sometimes, other medications are added to the antidepressant to boost its effectiveness. Certain medicines work better for some people. It may be necessary for your doctor to try different drugs at different doses to determine which medicine works best for you.
There are other treatment options for clinical depression -- such as electroconvulsive therapy, also called ECT or shock therapy -- that can be used if drugs prove ineffective or symptoms are severe.