Crippling Depression (A complete guide)


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Page last updated: 19/10/2022

Crippling Depression (A complete guide)

In this brief guide, we will be focusing on the topic: Crippling Depression. We will be examining the definition, primary nature, the symptoms, and diagnosis, causal factors, and course of action for the management of crippling depression. 

Crippling Depression

Crippling depression refers to the most severe and persistent form of depression that is somewhat similar to major depression or major depressive disorder. Crippling depression can also be considered as just another term used for clinical depression.

It mostly affects those people who suffer from a loss such as the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, or a medical condition.


Crippling depression is basically clinical depression that gets severe to the point of limiting basic functioning that includes the ability to work and live normally. The duration of crippling depression can last from weeks to months depending upon the intensity.

In some cases, it can turn out to be a lifelong struggle as well. 

Crippling Depression (A complete guide)

Primary Nature of Crippling Depression.

Though depression is a common mental illness, in certain circumstances it could be debilitating. When you are severely depressed, it prevents you from carrying out your daily tasks such as working, eating, sleeping, and socializing. 

Those who experience depression at such a level usually term it as ‘crippling’ and hence the name, Crippling Depression. It leads to a significant decline in functioning in those affected by it.


Depression is mostly diagnosed by observing the symptoms and behavioral patterns that are exhibited by the individual. The symptoms of crippling depression/major depressive disorder are as follows:

  • Consistent and intense feelings of sadness, frustration, and anger.
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Disruptions in the sleep pattern. It could be a lack of sleep or too much sleep.
  • General apathy
  • Lack of interest in people and activities that used to be enjoyable before.
  • Severe difficulties in the workplace/university/school.
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Intense mood swings and severe changes in temperament.
  • Inability to focus and concentrate in general.
  • Changes in body weight could be weight gain or loss.
  • Frequent physical symptoms such as headaches and backaches.
  • Increased irritability, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Excessive feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
  • Decreased ability to think, concentrate, and to make decisions.
Crippling Depression (A complete guide)

Causal factors

To date, brain chemistry and the neural connection changes that could lead to depression are not known. However, certain factors have been identified in causing crippling depression. They are as follows:


Genetics play a significant role in the occurrence of depression as in any other mental illness. Certain families carry a strong predisposition to depression. If a first-degree family member suffers from depression, it increases the chances of the other close members of the family developing depression. 


The personality of an individual form the crux of the individual throughout his/her life. People with certain personality traits and temperament are more prone to depressive features. 

Substance abuse

If you consume alcohol or use drugs in excessive amounts, it’s bound to lead to an addiction that would further lead to depression. This happens as the consequences of addiction begin to multiply over time and cause difficulties in family, work, and relationships. Depression can lead to substance abuse as a means of self-medication as well.

Medical conditions 

Certain kinds of medical conditions lead to the development of depressive symptoms such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease. 

Crippling depression v/s major depressive disorder.

Most mental health professionals mutually believe that crippling depression and major depressive disorder can be interchangeably used. At times phrases that are used to describe mental illnesses are not derived from research, mental health organizations, or universities. 

People suffering from certain types of mental disorders use unofficial terms to express levels of severity and to explain how the symptoms are affecting their functioning. Hence, crippling depression can be included in this category. 

However, evidence exists to prove that crippling depression is significantly different from other forms of depression. Every mental illness differs in terms of their degree of intensity.

Most people suffering from depression experience it on a moderate level with symptoms that qualify for a diagnosis but do not necessarily impact daily functioning. 

However, some people find it hard to attend full-time work or school. Crippling depression is used to define this particular distinction.

Acceptance for crippling depression

Many people suffering from depression do not believe that the existing clinical terms do not provide a clear picture of the symptoms they experience. Living with crippling depression can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with. 

If you or your loved ones are suffering from crippling depression, it is important to be understanding and compassionate. It helps the person affected to feel validated and secure. Make an effort to read up on the disorder and talk to those affected in a non-judgemental way.

Severe depression may be easier to manage with support from close friends and family. 

Coping mechanisms

There are several ways through which one can seek help for managing crippling depression. They are as follows:

  • Seeking therapy. A good therapist or counselor goes a long way in helping you cope with depression, especially when it interferes with your daily functioning. A therapist helps you to open up about what you truly feel and aids you in gaining wonderful insights during the process of therapy.
  • There exist many online resources that help you to choose an appropriate plan as suited for you to manage your level of depression.
  • Establishing a routine is another way to go about managing crippling depression. It helps in forming a structure for your day and to get through the day with less difficulty. This routine can be included in your meals, sleep, work, and personal hygiene.
  • Try making a schedule for self-care activities. It could be something as small as cooking a simple breakfast or listening to your old collection of music to planning to invest in your biggest dream as a baby step. 
  • Forgiving yourself matters a lot in maintaining a mental balance. You will need to accept the fact that there are going to be bad days as well as good days during your depressive period. Being hard on yourself during days like these can make things worse.
  • Try building up a solid support system. Make sure to include your close friends, family, acquaintances, and a good therapist. This will ensure a decline in the frequency of your depressive episodes.
  • Recognize and celebrate the little achievements you make while you’re undergoing depression. It is important to celebrate your wins and be there for yourself during this period. Give yourself credit for doing any small task even when you were not up to it.
  • Though it’s going to be physically exhausting and lethargy is going to heat its peak, gently try to indulge in a light form of exercise that is not taxing to your body or mind. This has been proven to act as an effective way to deal with crippling depression.
  • If you feel you are not able to deal with it by yourself, try seeking the help of a psychiatrist or a professional mental health practitioner. They help you identify your triggers and work on better strategies to deal with your worsening state. This will be necessary when depression hits you hard and you find it affecting you a lot.
  • In some cases, anti-depressants do the work. They can be used in conjunction with some kind of therapy. Over some time, government and private research have examined the efficacy of drugs such as ketamine. It improves the functioning of the neurotransmitter in the brain to ease the symptoms of depression. Some medicines are also infused through a nasal spray. 
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is another form of therapy that is widely popular for treating crippling depression. It is a safe and non-invasive method of treatment that uses electromagnetic energy to make secure adjustments in brain chemistry. It is mostly used in connection with medications for more effectiveness. 

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this brief guide, we discussed: Crippling Depression; its nature, symptoms, diagnosis, probable causes, distinction from other forms of depression, and ways to manage.

FAQs: Crippling Depression

What is the most serious form of depression?

The most serious form of depression is termed major depressive disorder which is also known as unipolar depression or clinical depression. It is largely characterized by feelings of sadness, and a lack of interest in doing regular day to day activities. 

For the diagnosis, the symptoms must last for more than two weeks or longer. 

What are the four major causes of depression?

The four main causes of depression are as follows:

Abuse can be physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse that can increase the vulnerability to depression in later life.
Certain types of medications can cause depression as a consequence.
Death or loss of a loved one 
Genetics play a role in causing depression
Intense conflicts with self or other people that causes severe anxiety and stress.

Does depression make you disabled?

Yes. depression possesses the power to make you mentally and psychologically disabled. It is considered a psychiatric disability under ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act). It’s bound to interfere with your daily functioning which includes disruptions in your work as well. 

Depression sometimes becomes so severe that you longer can go to work.

What happens to the brain during the depression?

During a depressive episode, the influx of cortisol causes the amygdala to enlarge which is that part of the brain that is associated with emotional responses.

 When it becomes larger, it causes changes in the sleep pattern, general activity level, and changes in other hormones as well. It can also lead to brain inflammation. 

What is the number one cause of anxiety?

The number one cause of anxiety is having a health issue or a serious illness that causes excessive worry and stress concerning issues such as treatment, and whether you will live or not. The stress aggravates to higher levels over time and eventually leads to some form of anxiety. 

Small life changes such as school change, migration for a job or higher studies can also cause a significant level of stress in those worried by these situations.  

Death or loss of a loved one or a relationship breakup are also triggers for causing anxiety at significant levels.

Can depression kill your brain cells?

Yes. depression has the ability to kill your brain cells. In addition to making a person feel sad and dejected, it can also damage the brain permanently. The affected person will have severe difficulties in remembering and concentrating in general. 

It has been discovered that up to twenty percent of patients never undergo a full recovery from depression.

Does depression cause memory loss?

Depression and other related problems such as stress and anxiety can cause forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty remembering things, and other problems that disrupt daily activities. If depression is co-existing with alcoholism, that can also cause memory loss due to interactions with medications.