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What Is Crippling Depression?

What Is Crippling Depression?

What Is Crippling Depression?

Published: February 24, 2022

Most of us have experienced times in our lives when we have felt depressed. These are often times when life hits us hard and leaves us wondering, "how can I go on after this?" Yet, after a period of sadness, grieving, or mourning, many people can stand back on their feet and resume their daily activities. But there are moments when bouncing back is not so easy.

Getting out of bed or even making a cup of coffee can become very strenuous activities. Depression can become so severe that it may colonize all aspects of life. When this happens, we may be experiencing crippling depression.

Read more: Depression Treatment in Miami

Is crippling depression a medical condition? Who is at risk of experiencing it? What treatments may help a person suffering from this mental health condition? What is crippling depression?

This blog answers these questions and gives you the information you need to assess whether you or a loved one may require help.

What Is Meant by Crippling Depression?

Crippling depression is a mainstream term used to define severe depression or major depressive disorder. Just like we may feel different degrees of pain in our bodies, the same occurs with our minds. The adjective 'crippling' highlights the intense emotional pain a depressed person may feel at any stage of their life to the point that they may feel unable to complete basic life tasks, such as cooking, taking a shower, getting out of the house, or even brushing their teeth.

Crippling depression is not a clinical term. However, it has become a valuable concept among laypeople and professionals to distinguish a mild depressive episode from a severe or persistent depressive disorder. Nowadays, major depression has become one of the leading causes of disability among adults in the United States and one of the most prevalent mental disorders.

Crippling depression or major depression can happen to anyone irrespective of race, gender, age, financial situation, or cultural background; depression is a mental health condition that knows no boundaries. Yet, some risk factors may increase a person's chances of experiencing severe depression compared to others.

Who Is at Risk of Suffering From Crippling Depression?

While anyone is at risk of suffering one episode of severe depression or a persistent depressive disorder, research suggests some factors increase a person's risk. These factors can be biological, psychological, and environmental.

Let's take a closer look at each of these categories.

Biological Factors

Scientists agree that while some genes cause specific diseases, the situation is more complex when discussing clinical depression. For example, people whose parents have experienced a major depressive disorder are at a high risk of showing symptoms of depression.

To some extent, depression may be part of family history. But we want to emphasize that this does not happen in every case or family. The reason is that there is no one specific gene responsible for triggering depression. Instead, a depressed mood may arise when a combination of several genes are present.

Read more: TMS Therapy

Other biological factors contribute to crippling depression, including gender (women are more likely to experience depression than men), lower brain cell activity, and hormone imbalance. Nowadays, it is still unknown to what extent biological factors cause depression.

While our physiology may play a role in triggering depressive episodes, we cannot overlook other factors, such as our personality, history, and life circumstances.

Psychological Factors

At least three psychological characteristics may contribute to depression: personality style, other mental health disorders, and adverse childhood traumatic experiences.

When we talk about personality style, depression is more likely to arise in people who often engage in negative thinking patterns, lower self-esteem, and have poor coping skills. Depression can also occur due to other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, or personality disorder.

Unfortunately, in many cases, children who experience physical or sexual abuse or lose a parent in their early life have a very high risk of becoming depressed during their teens or adult years.

Environmental Factors

Biological and psychological factors play a huge role in triggering depression. However, when a person experiences a tragic life event, the chances of suffering a depressive episode increase. The environmental factors contributing to depression include experiencing separation or divorce, unemployment, financial hardships, migration, discrimination, or living a traumatic event.

Other risk factors that may trigger a depressive episode include:

  • Some medications
  • Substance abuse
  • Chronic pain or physical illnesses
  • Postpartum depression

How Can I Tell if I Am Suffering From Crippling or Clinical Depression?

We often associate depression with sadness, so we tend to ignore other common signs of this mental health condition. Unfortunately, when this happens, what may begin as a mild depressive episode can quickly turn into crippling depression, especially if we experience additional adverse life events.

For this reason, it is essential to learn how to recognize when you or a loved one is depressed. Doing so ensures that you can seek help as early as possible. Here are some mental and physical symptoms you may want to watch for:

Mental Symptoms

  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Feeling increasingly sad
  • Losing interest in daily activity
  • Losing motivation to have future goals
  • Not finding pleasure in things that used to be enjoyable
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having difficulties making decisions
  • Having self-esteem issues (i.e., being self-critical, judgmental, and pessimistic about oneself)
  • Suicidal thoughts or intent (if you experience suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. You can call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at no cost).

Physical Symptoms

  • Slow movements
  • Slow speech
  • Unexplained fatigue or low energy
  • Sleep issues (insomnia or sleeping too much)
  • Weight changes that are not related to specific diets
  • Chronic pains that are not associated with a medical condition
  • Poor immune system (suffering from ongoing physical illnesses, from experiencing a common cold to more significant diseases)

Can Someone Overcome Crippling Depression?

The straightforward answer is yes; crippling depression, regardless of its severity, does not have the last say. The road to managing symptoms of depression may not be easy, but with appropriate treatment, interventions, and support, any person can win the battle.

There are different treatment options for major depressive disorder and other types of depression. When a depressive episode is mild, engaging in self-care practices or talking with a loved one may help. However, as depression becomes more severe, these practices may not be sufficient.

In some cases, crippling depression may become resistant to antidepressants and other medication. But other effective and safe treatments can help you overcome this mental health condition.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) Therapy

The National Institute of Mental Health speaks about the benefits of using brain stimulation when depression becomes resistant to other types of treatments. There are different types of brain stimulation, but in 2008 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to treat depression. However, the question is, "how can rTMS help you overcome crippling depression (a.k.a. clinical depression)?"

When a person experiences depression, the brain areas responsible for regulating emotions lower their activity. As depression becomes severe, these brain areas become more affected. rTMS therapy works by applying electromagnetic pulses to different brain regions to reawaken their activity. These low-frequency magnetic pulses are pain-free and non-invasive. Yet, they can restimulate brain cells' activity and reawaken neurological networks.

Most importantly, rTMS has proven effective in treating crippling depression in young people and adults. Combining rTMS therapy with talk therapy can increase its long-lasting positive effects.

Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and other types of therapies can be excellent resources for processing emotions, healing past traumas, and learning new coping skills.

While rTMS can effectively address brain imbalances, talk therapy can help you regain self-esteem, self-confidence, and life meaning. These treatment options are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, in the case of crippling depression, pursuing any or both treatments can be life-saving.

On this note, there are some cases when brain stimulation is not an option. For example, rTMS is not recommended during pregnancy or for people who have a history of seizures. Therefore, it is always important that you talk with a licensed mental health professional about treatment options that best suit your current situation.

What's Next?

At GIA Miami, we believe that no person has to struggle or suffer alone. Regardless of your age, gender, race, sexual orientation, language, or migration status, we can help you overcome life stressors and mental health issues. We count on the knowledge of a fantastic team of licensed mental health professionals that can create personalized treatments to address your needs.

Whenever you feel ready, you can book a free consultation with us to explore your options to overcome depression or any mental illness by calling us on 561.462.4099.

We are available 24/7, and we also provide our services in English or Spanish.

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