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Clinical Depression in Adults

Mood disorders can manifest themselves in ways other than in the symptoms which we typically associate with clinical depression in adults. Clinical depression in adults can cause unpleasant and difficult –to-live-with behaviors. If the depression has been mild and long-standing (a kind of depression referred to as dysthymia ), spouses, relatives and friends may mistakenly conclude that traits such as irritability are due to a nasty or difficult personality when, in fact, they are manifestations of a depressive illness. Symptoms of clinical depression in adults can contribute to marital and other interpersonal problems by causing someone to be:

  • Irritable and impatient
  • Overly critical, complaining, opinionated
  • Demanding, insistent on having their way, difficult to satisfy
  • Unable to forget or forgive wrongs done to them
  • Emotionally distant, unable to feel or express interest, caring or love

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Additional Clinical Depression Symptoms

Clinical depression in adults can also cause someone to feel constantly pressured, stressed out and overwhelmed by day-to-day responsibilities . Friends and relatives may find it hard to be sympathetic when, as is often the case, the stresses the person is handling are not out of the ordinary. People who are properly treated for clinical depression, however, usually find that they are able to cope much more easily with the stress of multiple responsibilities. This is the case even if the stresses themselves don't change.

Manic Depression

Subtle forms of bipolar disorder are often mistaken for clinical depression in adults. One of the more common forms of bipolar disorder mistaken for clinical depression is the depressive mixed state. This condition occurs when someone meets the criteria for clinical depression but also has some symptoms of mania mixed in. The manic symptoms most often mixed in with clinical depression in adults are:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Extreme agitation and restlessness
  • Distractibility
  • Excessive talking
  • Intense sexual drive

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Another type of clinical depression in adults is a form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia. Individuals with cyclothymia have periods of mild depression that alternate with brief “up” periods. The unstable moods, stormy relationships, and impulsive behaviors of individuals with cyclothymia and other forms of bipolar disorder may lead them to be misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder

Cyclothymia symptoms:

  • Lethargy and lack of energy alternating with increased motivation and energy
  • Low self-esteem alternating with overconfidence
  • Oversleeping alternating with decreased need for sleep
  • Withdrawal alternating with extroversion
  • Not wanting to talk alternating with the pressure to keep talking
  • Mid-life Clinical Depression

    Sometimes clinical depression in adults occurs in mid-life in someone who has previously been very energetic, outgoing and needed little sleep. These individuals may have been highly productive and successful salespeople, entrepreneurs, business leaders, entertainers, or politicians. They should generally not be treated with antidepressant medications because they may become irritable and overactive

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    The material provided is for your information only. It cannot be used to definitively diagnose or treat any illness or condition. If you believe you may have one of the disorders described, consult a licensed mental health professional.

    © Copyright 2005-2009 | Brian P. Quinn, LCSW, Ph.D. - 215 E. Main St., Suite 207, Huntington, NY 11743