Debilitating Depression, Symptoms & Treatment

Debilitating Depression, Symptoms and Treatment

Debilitating depression

In 2021, an estimated 14.9 million adults aged above 18 in the USA had debilitating depression with severe impairment in the past year. This number represented 6.0 percent of all adults in the USA. Please read this blog to understand debilitating depression in detail.

What is debilitating depression?

Debilitating depression is when the symptoms of major depression are so severe or prolonged that a person can’t function normally in one or more areas of their life. For instance, debilitating depression may make it impossible to keep up with housework, basic hygiene, a job, or normal relationships with family and friends. There are some pretty severe consequences of untreated debilitating depression, including suicide. Therefore, it is essential to get treatment for debilitating depression.

What are the symptoms of debilitating depression?

Some symptoms that you have debilitating depression can include:

  • Not bathing or showering for days or weeks
  • Neglecting hygiene, wearing dirty clothes, and not brushing hair
  • Being completely unable to function in school or at work
  • Feeling extremely agitated and guilty
  • Having sleep disturbances
  • Forgetting to eat or consuming only whatever junk food is available
  • Noticeable slowing of your ability to think or do remotely active tasks, even getting up and walking around your house
  • Psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions and becoming physically immobile

One must address this severe and debilitating depression since it can cause severe complications, such as substance abuse, physical injuries due to self-harm, malnutrition, failing at school or loss of a job, physical illnesses, social isolation, and damaged relationships.

What are the causes of debilitating depression?

Debilitating depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the USA. Research suggests that genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors can be responsible for debilitating depression. There are several potential causes of debilitating depression, and some factors may combine to trigger symptoms. Factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing debilitating depression are:

  • a personal or family history of debilitating depression
  • certain physical illnesses, like diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease
  • significant life changes, including stress and trauma
  • specific medications

Treating and Managing debilitating depression

Everybody experiences depression in unique ways, even with typical symptoms. Some people have less frequent states of depression or more mild depressive moods. These moods may debilitate others. People with debilitating depression might not be able to function, struggling to do even the basic daily tasks such as bathing and getting dressed. This degree of depression is not something a person has to live with for long. If you or someone you care for is struggling with debilitating depression, seek treatment. Debilitating depression feels hopeless, but there is hope.

There is no cure for debilitating depression, but with the correct medical treatment and therapy, you can live with depression, manage symptoms, and reduce the risk of future episodes. Even for the most debilitating cases of depression, treatments can be effective. The treatment for patients with debilitating depression is usually similar to the treatment for other kinds of depression. Below, this blog shares some common treatments for individuals with debilitating depression.


Psychotherapy is a standard treatment for debilitating depression. Psychotherapy can include talk therapy, which involves patients with debilitating depression attending regular sessions with a therapist to share how they feel. Psychotherapy can allow individuals to learn ways to adjust to situations that worsen their depression symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (or CBT) is another type of psychotherapy that medical experts use to treat debilitating depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on how beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes can affect people’s behaviors and feelings. Cognitive-behavioral therapy uses a hands-on and practical approach, with a therapist interacting with the person to modify their patterns of behavior and thinking. This modification allows the individual to achieve a beneficial change in their mood and how they live their lives.


Doctors and mental health experts usually prescribe antidepressants for people with debilitating depression. These medications regulate chemicals and hormones in the brain that contribute to an individual’s mental health. The drugs aim to modulate mood and behavior, and both relieve the debilitating depression symptoms and prevent them from coming back.

  • Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (i.e., SNRIs) are common antidepressant drugs that doctors prescribe to treat debilitating depression. Examples of SNRIs are desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) are another common medication for the treatment of debilitating depression. Examples of SSRIs are citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft).
Electroconvulsive therapy (or ECT)

ECT is a treatment for people with debilitating depression. ECT is an option for patients who don’t respond to medication or psychotherapy. ECT takes place under general anesthesia. While the individual is under general anesthesia, a medical team places electrodes on the scalp in precise locations. Then they stimulate their brain with controlled and brief electrical pulses. This stimulation leads to a small seizure within their brain that lasts about one minute. ECT aims to cause changes in the brain’s chemistry to improve depression symptoms and other mental health conditions.

Other treatments for debilitating depression

People can also try to reduce debilitating depression symptoms in other ways. A mental health doctor can advise on methods to try, which can include:

  • alternative approaches, such as acupuncture
  • light therapy
  • regular exercise
  • nutritional changes

Debilitating depression and anxiety

The chance of acquiring anxiety is much higher when debilitating depression already exists. Nearly half of those with debilitating depression also suffer from persistent and severe anxiety. People who have debilitating depression feel anxious and tense often. One can easily trigger the other, with anxiety usually preceding debilitating depression.


Debilitating depression is a severe mood disorder that causes people to have a persistent feeling of sadness. People usually describe debilitating depression as crippling. Debilitating depression can make a person feel constantly depressed or low. It can also lead to feelings of worthlessness and guilt and the inability to feel pleasure in things that an individual would usually find pleasurable. Debilitating depression can also prevent sufferers from completing regular daily tasks like eating, working, and sleeping.

Common treatments for debilitating depression involve psychotherapy and a range of antidepressant medicines. These treatments can be pretty effective and work well to manage symptoms of debilitating depression.

chronic conditions

Chronic conditions Vs. mental illness

Chronic mental illness definition

Chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, may likely develop a mental health condition. It is widespread to feel discouraged and sad after having a cancer diagnosis or heart attack and when trying to manage a chronic disease such as severe pain. You may be facing new limits on what you can do or may feel concerned or stressed about the treatment outcomes and future.

It can be pretty challenging to adapt to the new reality or cope with the changes and ongoing treatment that comes with the diagnosis. Activities including gardening or hiking may become harder. A temporary feeling of worry is expected, but if these and other symptoms last more than weeks, you may have depression.

It may affect your ability to carry on with the routine activity or enjoy with family, work, leisure, and friends. Your health affects of stress go beyond mood.

Overview of chronic disease or condition

A health condition that requires medical attention or starts restricting an individual’s life for at least one year is considered a chronic condition or disease. These conditions are most common in the United States that include but are not limited to strokes, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.

Out of all health illnesses in the USA, chronic diseases are the most costly, prevalent, or responsible for seven out of ten deaths in the United States. They can result from risk factors, including family history, age, poor eating habits, substance use, etc.

Chronic illnesses may include arthritis, Alzheimer’s, chronic kidney disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, fibromyalgia, obesity, traumatic brain injury, or stroke.

Chronic illness and depression

Mental stress is one of the most common complications of chronic disease. It is analyzed that approximately one-third of individuals with severe medical illnesses have symptoms of anxiety and depression.

An individual who suffers from chronic illnesses must adjust to both the disease and its treatment. Chronic infection may affect an individual’s mobility and independence and change how you live. These life changes can be stressful and may cause a certain sadness, which is normal.

In rare cases, suffering from a chronic disease can trigger what is known as clinically significant depression, which is itself a potentially severe but treatable condition. The professional and the patient may decide whether the symptoms of mental illness are just a normal reaction to the stress of having a chronic medical disease. But, they are so intense or disabling that it requires additional treatment with an antidepressant.

About one-third of people diagnosed with a severe life-changing chronic illness may experience symptoms of depression. After analyzing a severe disease, feelings of repair and sadness are normal. But, if it persists, treatment may include therapy and medication.

Adolescents and children with chronic illnesses

Adolescents and children with severe chronic disease often face more challenges than healthy peers in navigating adolescents. Severe chronic illness can affect cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development or take a toll on siblings and parents. These limitations can put adolescents and children at risk of developing a mental condition more than their healthy peers.

Children with chronic diseases may experience many forms of stress and worry. Health care providers and parents should know on the lookout for symptoms of anxiety and depression in young people and their families.

Psychological effects of chronic illness

Living with a chronic condition can affect you both mentally and physically. The effect it can take on your body is bound to interfere with your ability to cope with emotional and psychological stress. Chronic conditions make performing activities difficult and rob your sense of hope for the future.

The diagnosis of a chronic illness produces many extreme and long-lasting feelings from fear of guilt and exhaustion because of demands made on friends and family. Sadness and frustration are also ordinary when you realize the life you once knew is highly different.

Living with a chronic illness

Chronic conditions and mental illnesses, when left untreated, can be draining on the people living with the disease, coworkers, families, and communities. The chronic condition is a full-time job that takes effort and willingness to change the daily routine.

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition can be disorienting and frightening. Once you move beyond the shock of diagnosis, it is helpful to know how to cope with the daily stress of life with your illness.

Living with a chronic disease can make you particularly vulnerable. In addition to everyday life challenges that some people face, it adds new layers of stress and worry. For instance, you may need to:

  • manage increased financial pressure
  • take steps to manage your condition
  • cope with discomfort from the symptoms
  • adjust new limitations that your state puts on your life

You can take several steps to level up your quality of life and reduce the challenges of living with a chronic illness.

What are the treatment options to cope with chronic conditions with mental illness?

These conditions can bring on bouts of depression, which get in the way of successful treatment of the disease. Coping with a chronic illness is a challenge, and it is normal to feel sad and grief as you come to grips with your conditions and the implications. But, if these feelings do not fade away, it can interfere in routine activity such as trouble sleeping or losing interest in the activities you usually enjoy.

To avid mental illness:

  • You can try to isolate or reach friends and family. If you do not have a support system, take steps to build one. Ask your therapist about the community resources and support groups.
  • Ensure that you have the medical support of the professionals you trust and can talk to them openly about your concerns.
  • Consult your health care professional about the pain management
  • If you suspect that your treatment is bringing you down, consult your pharmacist about other possible medicines.

Bottom line

Living with mental illness and chronic conditions can be stressful, but you can take several steps to manage the requirements and maintain a good quality of life. Try to learn about the illness and the treatment needs. You are being proactive about the treatment plan and leading a healthy life.

Make time for things or activities that leave you feeling supported and happier while avoiding people and situations that can stress you out.