What Is Clinical Depression, and What Treatment Options Are Available?

Depression is a prevalent mental health condition that affects nearly 14.8 million U.S. adults. It causes persistent sadness and can significantly impact how you think, sleep, eat and act. While depression symptoms range in severity, it is treatable — often through talk therapy, antidepressant medications or both. Seeking professional medical help as soon as possible can help you treat your symptoms and experience relief faster.

How to Get a Depression Diagnosis

The clinical definition of depression is a mood disorder that causes a loss of interest in activities, low energy and ongoing hopelessness. Also referred to as major depressive disorder, the condition can significantly impact how you feel, think and behave, and lead to various emotional and physical issues. While it’s normal to feel sad or grieve over challenging life changes, like losing your job, depression persists every day for at least two weeks and can involve symptoms other than sadness.

Health providers diagnose depression by screening your symptoms and reviewing your family history. You will likely fill out a questionnaire about your symptoms or undergo medical tests to rule out other conditions, such as a lack of specific nutrients, drug reactions or underactive hormone levels. Other mental health challenges can also cause depression symptoms, such as bipolar I and II disorders.

Warning signs of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worry
  • Losing interest in things that once brought joy
  • Becoming easily irritated or frustrated
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering things or making decisions
  • Physical problems like headaches, stomachaches or sexual dysfunction
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Despite being one of the most common forms of disability, depression frequently goes ignored, misdiagnosed and untreated. When this occurs, the condition can become life-threatening and lead to suicide. If you or someone you know has depression symptoms, seek help from a qualified health professional. Many primary care doctors diagnose and treat depression. However, if your mood worsens or does not improve within four to eight weeks of treatment, you may want to see a psychiatrist.

If you have more severe symptoms of depression, such as thoughts of death or hurting yourself, you should visit a psychiatrist as soon as possible. They can work with you to find a treatment that improves your specific symptoms.

Types of Depression

Doctors classify depression as mild, moderate or severe. The exact diagnosis depends on many factors, including symptoms, their severity and how often they occur. Some types of depression can also cause a temporary spike in the severity of symptoms.

  • Mild: Mild depression symptoms can persist for days and are often noticeable enough to disrupt daily activities. Symptoms can include irritability or anger, self-loathing, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities or difficulty concentrating. People with mild or moderate depression may have persistent depressive disorder, which lasts at least two years.
  • Moderate: A moderate form of depression shares symptoms with mild depression and may also cause self-esteem issues, reduced productivity, feelings of worthlessness, excessive worrying and increased sensitivities.
  • Severe: Severe or major depression is the most debilitating and lasts an average of six months or longer. It might also cause suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Specific types of major depressive disorder include seasonal affective disorder, prenatal or postpartum depression and atypical depression.

If you have symptoms of any type of depression, you must talk to a doctor as soon as possible. Mild, moderate and severe depression can pose problems for your daily life, with symptoms like reduced concentration, fatigue and overwhelming sadness or hopelessness.

Types of Depression

Treatment Options Available Through Principium

Depression can significantly impact how you feel and behave, making daily tasks more challenging. At Principium Psychiatry, we offer various treatment options to help you manage these all-consuming symptoms. The method that works for you will depend on the degree of disruption to your life, your family history and the type of depression you might be dealing with.

Our mental health professionals can provide a diagnosis and get you on a treatment track to feeling better.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can go a long way in relieving depression symptoms. We offer various forms of psychotherapy.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people discover negative thinking patterns and modify them into healthier ones.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of CBT that includes learning specific skills.
  • In psychodynamic therapy, you determine which experiences might contribute to your current behaviors and learn how to resolve them.
  • Interpersonal therapy helps improve your relationships.
  • With acceptance and commitment therapy, you can learn to affirm your thoughts and feelings and commit to change.
  • Family and play therapy can benefit clients of all ages.


For some patients, psychopharmacology can be an effective depression treatment. It refers to antidepressants or other medications used to relieve symptoms of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. These medications work by managing chemical imbalances in the brain. At Principium, our professionals can prescribe medicines and monitor their doses to help you find relief.

Ketamine Nasal Spray and Injections

Ketamine is a cutting-edge psychiatric treatment that can address severe medication- and treatment-resistant depression. Many studies demonstrate the effectiveness of ketamine infusions as a rapid treatment for depression. Our intravenous ketamine infusions take place under the supervision of Dr. Cohen and the team at Principium.

We also offer ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, where you can attend talk therapy sessions while receiving ketamine through a nasal spray or injections. Combining these methods might increase your chances of a successful treatment outcome.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

While the first-line response to depression often involves a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy, some people can experience side effects or symptoms that don’t respond to these solutions. In addition to psychopharmacology and talk therapies, Principium offers innovative treatment options like TMS. This FDA-approved treatment is safe and non-invasive. Many people have experienced the benefits of TMS for severe depression, PTSD, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

At Principium Psychiatry, we also offer safe and advanced electroconvulsive therapy for depression and other conditions. ECT involves using an electrical stimulus on the brain to increase the release of mood-regulating neurotransmitters. We prioritize your safety, comfort and privacy, and all ECT sessions take place in our state-of-the-art center on Park Avenue. Our team collaborates with qualified, highly experienced anesthesia providers to keep your treatment comfortable and safe.

Start Feeling Better Today

Clinical depression can significantly disrupt your everyday life and leave you unsure of where to turn. At Principium Psychiatry, we offer various treatment methods to help you manage your mood and have a brighter outlook for the future. From medications and talk therapy to innovative treatments like TMS, ECT and ketamine infusions, we can assess your symptoms and customize a plan that addresses your unique needs.

To get started, book an appointment today.


Start Feeling Better Today

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