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What Is Clinical Depression

By Mosh
Treat Mental Health
6 min read
Medically reviewed by:

Key Takeaways

Clinical depression is the constant or chronic feeling of sadness and lack of interest that causes a significant impact on your quality of life. For some it may have a trigger such as losing a job or a loved one but for others it may have seemingly come out of no where. A lot of different terms are used for depression including 'clinical depression', 'major depression', 'major depression disorder' but ultimately they all describe the same condition. To address any concerns that you may have, it is advisable to consult with a  mental health professional to receive proper advice and treatment depending on your specific situation.

Now that mental health has been placed at the forefront of discussions involving the state of society today, you may wonder, ‘What is clinical depression?’ 

What does depression mean? In simple terms, it is a constant or chronic feeling of sadness and lack of interest that causes a significant impact on your quality of life. Depression may be triggered by a major difficulty in life, a mix of factors, or seemingly out of the blue.

Everyone has low moments or days where they don’t feel their best. However, clinical depression is more severe and may have deeper, long-term effects. 

Clinical depression is a common mental health condition. In a national study of mental health in Australia, 7.5% (1.5 million people) had a mood disorder, with depressive episodes being the most common.[1] 

What is clinical depression caused by? Examples of events that have been known to be causes of depression are the loss of a job, financial difficulties, severe physical sickness, a breakup or divorce, grief over the loss of a loved one, bullying in school or in the workplace, and more.

Surprisingly, even an event that is thought to be ‘positive’ may trigger depression, as the mind and body perceive the event as a big change, which may cause uneasiness and anxiety.[2] Some of these events may include moving to a new country, graduating, and getting married, among others. For many women, welcoming a child into the world has been linked to peripartum depression.[3]

A man and woman having a friendly conversation in a kitchen about mental health.

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What are some symptoms of clinical depression?

After asking ‘What is clinical depression?’ you may be wondering about the signs of clinical depression. Depression symptoms may manifest in different combinations and degrees of severity from person to person. Some of the signs and symptoms of major depression include, among others:

  • the feeling of sadness, disappointment, or misery for no apparent reason;
  • numbness;
  • withdrawal from family, friends, and loved ones;
  • loss of interest, especially in activities one is usually excited about;
  • difficulty concentrating at school or work;
  • loss of confidence or sense of self-worth;
  • difficulty or inability to maintain personal hygiene and cleanliness in the home;
  • increased reliance on addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs;
  • suicidal ideation;
  • difficulty sleeping on time or enough; and
  • issues involving appetite, weight gain, or weight loss.

These are just a few signs you may recognise in yourself or a loved one experiencing depression. Keep in mind, though, that one does not have to experience all of the above chronic depression symptoms to be categorised as clinically depressed. It is best to speak with your doctor for an accurate assessment.

Is clinical depression different from major depressive disorder?

What is clinical depression in relation to major depressive disorder, then? The term ‘major depressive disorder’ is used interchangeably with ‘major depression’ and ‘clinical depression’.[4]

Diagnoses for clinical depression may vary depending on whether one’s symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe.[5] If you or someone you know is displaying signs of depression, know that help is available. Consider reaching out to a doctor to discuss your concerns. 

What are the treatments given for clinical depression?

Now, your query may have evolved from ‘What is clinical depression?’ to ‘How to treat depression?’ or ‘How to stop being depressed?’ If you are worried about a depressed mood or exhibiting signs of depressive disorders, do not worry – there are a variety of effective, evidence-based treatments available to help you manage your symptoms when necessary.

Mild depression can usually be offset with strategic lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend, such as those related to your diet, sleep patterns, and exercise frequency. However, for the treatment of major depressive disorder, methods such as cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, and online therapy may be recommended if deemed appropriate for your situation.[6]

In some cases, your doctor may see the need to prescribe medications.[7] When combined with positive lifestyle changes and therapy, some medications may assist in regulating your daily mood and energy levels.

We at Mosh understand how overwhelming it can be to navigate life while experiencing depression, let alone seek treatment. That is why we would like to help you find a doctor who understands what you are going through and can recommend a suitable treatment plan when necessary. 

With your Mosh doctor’s help, you can get answers to concerns such as ‘What is clinical depression?’ ‘How to not be depressed?’ and ‘How to cope with depression?’ You may also reach out about other mental health concerns, like how to relieve anxiety and how to cope with stress.

We have made it easy for you to access the help you need. It starts with a simple online questionnaire where we can get to know you and your concerns. If a treatment plan is suitable for your situation, a Mosh doctor will get in touch and schedule an online consultation through text, call, or video chat.

If found suitable, the treatment of major depressive disorder may involve therapy sessions, prescription medication, or a combination of both. There are a variety of AHPRA-registered doctors you can connect with at Mosh. Prescription medication, if necessary, can be delivered discreetly to your doorstep.

Now that you’ve asked ‘What is clinical depression?’ and understand the condition a little better, we hope to be a part of your journey towards managing depressive symptoms and regaining a better quality of life. We at Mosh are here to help, so feel free to contact us today.


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