How Do I Know Which Type I Have
If you think you might have any type of depression, its important to follow up with a doctor. All depression types discussed in this article are treatable, though it might take some time to find the right treatment for you.
If youve had a previous episode of depression and think it may be happening again, see a therapist or another mental health professional right away.
If youve never had depression before, start with a primary care physician. Some symptoms of depression can be related to an underlying physical condition that should be addressed.
Try to give your doctor as much information about your symptoms as you can. If possible, mention:
- when you first noticed the symptoms
- how theyve affected your daily life
- any other mental health conditions you have
- any information about a history of mental illness in your family
- all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including supplements and herbs
It might feel uncomfortable, but try to tell your doctor everything. This will help them give you a more accurate diagnosis and refer you to the right type of mental health professional.
Tiredness Or Sleep Problems
Depression is usually associated with tiredness the image of someone with depression lying in bed all day comes to mind.
Part of why depression causes tiredness is because its highly linked with sleep problems like insomnia. Many people with depression arent able to get the restful sleep they need every night. However, even for people who sleep well , depression can cause fatigue.
Sleep and depression can become locked in a vicious cycle because being sleep-deprived makes depression symptoms even worse. If youre struggling to get a good nights rest, its important that you address it by taking steps like adjusting your bedroom temperature, having a relaxing bedtime routine, and practicing good sleep hygiene.
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Changes In Appetite And Weight
Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others wont be hungry and will lose weight.
One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if theyre intentional or not. If theyre not, it may mean that theyre caused by depression.
People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first. Often people will talk about it or make a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- Listen, but dont judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
How Many People Are Diagnosed With Depression
Around 17.3 million US adults have had at least one major depressive episode.2 Some 20% of women and between 10 and 12% of men will experience depression at least once in their life, says says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University.
Depression is relatively rare during childhood and comparably distributed across the genders, Hollon adds. The rates just explode during adolescence and that is when gender disparities first emerge. And, he adds, Half of all the folks who are going to be diagnosed with major depression at some point will have at least one episode during adolescence.
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What Is The #1 Cause Of Depression
The number one cause of depression is the tough stuff, the major life events that go wrong, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University. Depression can occur when people experience adverse life events such as the death of someone close, the loss of a job, or some type of psychological trauma. Depression can lead to more stress and dysfunction, which can worsen the depression itself.
There also is a connection between depression and physical health. For instance, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression .4,5
Thankfully, there are effective treatments for depression. We know that depression is a very treatable condition and that over 80 percent of people who receive appropriate treatment for their depression will improve significantly, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. Unfortunately, the large majority of people with depression never get appropriate treatment.
Increased Alcohol Or Drug Use
Navigating the ups and downs of life is difficult enough, but for the depressed it is nearly impossible at times. To escape this trap, they often turn to the use of alcohol or drugs. Understandably, alcohol and drug use occurs because the person is seeking to numb their pain or feel the happiness that they long for. However, this only works for a short while and as tolerance increases so does the likelihood of addiction.
How To Tell If You Are Depressed
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 15 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 724,968 times.
Are you always feeling sad? You might be experiencing symptoms of depression. But being sad for a day or two doesn’t exactly mean that you are suffering from depression. Depression is a common psychological disorder that can greatly impact daily functioning, and extends beyond feeling sad or blue. As much as people with depression want to, they cant just snap out of it. With mental, emotional, and physical symptoms, it can become overwhelming very quickly. The good news is that there are ways to treat and prevent depression once you catch it.
Most Common Symptoms Of Depression
The only way to know for sure whether or not you have depression is to see a licensed mental health provider. However, there are some common symptoms of depression that you can look out for to get a head start on finding an answer.
If youre wondering how to know if you have depression, here are seven common symptoms of clinical depression. How many of them do you recognize in yourself?
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About Your Mental Health
Overeating And Weight Gain
Some people may eat more when they are depressed. Food can become a comfort mechanism for negative feelings or a way to deal with boredom or being alone.
Depression can make it difficult for people to feel motivated to get outside or exercise. Combined with an increase in food intake, this can lead to weight gain.
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Most Common Depression Diagnosis Scales
Some of the most popular scales used to help clinicians diagnose depression include:
- Beck Depression Inventory
- Clinically Useful Depression Outcome Scale
- Geriatric Depression Scale
- Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and adolescent PHQ-9
- Plutchik-Van Praag Self-Report Depression Scale
- Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology
- Rome Depression Inventory
- Zung Self-Rating Depression Scales
Some scales, such as the Beck Depression Inventory, are copyright protected and not available outside of a doctors office or mental health clinic . There are inventories, scales, and questionnaires that are in the public domain and, therefore, more accessible.
Am I Depressed Take This Quiz To Find Out
For each question, choose the best answer for you.
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Causes And Risk Factors
While some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward, depression is far more complicated. Certain medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and specific blood pressure medicine can trigger symptoms in some peopleas can hypothyroidism . But most commonly, depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors that can vary wildly from one person to another.
Despite what you may have seen in TV ads, read in newspaper articles, or maybe even heard from a doctor, depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, having too much or too little of any brain chemical that can be simply cured with medication. Biological factors can certainly play a role in depression, including inflammation, hormonal changes, immune system suppression, abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain, nutritional deficiencies, and shrinking brain cells. But psychological and social factorssuch as past trauma, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, and lifestyle choicescan also play an enormous part.
Depression And Suicide: Getting Help In A Crisis
Some people who are depressed may think about hurting themselves or committing suicide . If you or someone you know is having thoughts about hurting themselves or committing suicide please seek immediate help. The following resources can help:
- Call to reach a 24hour crisis center or dial 911. is the National Suicide Prevention Lifelineexternal icon, which provides free confidential help to people in crisis. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationexternal icon runs this lifeline.
- Get help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
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Signs And Symptoms: How To Identify Depression
If sadness alone isnt a good gauge of depression, what is? According to the American Psychiatric Associations current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which is the diagnostic guide used by most mental health professionals, if youve experienced at least five of the following symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be , also known as clinical depression.
- Constantly feel tearful, empty, or worthless?
- Have little interest or pleasure in your work, hobbies, friends, family, and other things you once enjoyed?
- Notice dramatic changes up or down in your appetite or your weight not related to dieting?
- Often feel listless or fatigued for no obvious reason?
- Have trouble concentrating or making decisions?
- Find yourself wringing your hands, pacing, or showing other signs of anxious restlessness or the opposite, moving or speaking more slowly than usual?
- Struggle with or sleep too much?
- Have recurrent thoughts of suicide or death?
To be diagnosed with MDD, one of your symptoms must be a persistent low mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, the DSM-5 states. Your symptoms must also not be due to substance abuse or a medical condition, such as thyroid problems, a brain tumor, or a nutritional deficiency.
Of course, its normal to have any or all of these symptoms temporarily from time to time. The difference with depression is that the symptoms persist and make it difficult to function normally.
This Quiz Can Help You Determine Whether Or Not You May Be Struggling With Depression
- Are you having feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness?
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Depression: What You Need To Know As You Age
If youre one of the more than 14.8 million American adults who experiences major depression, you may feel so bad that you cant get out of bed, be around the people you love or participate in activities that you usually enjoy. Actually, there are more than 50 different symptoms of major depression, ranging from the well-knowncrying and sadnessto those you might never associate with depression, such as anger, workaholism and back pain.
Depression is a disease that affects every aspect of a persons life, not just mood, says Johns Hopkins expert Andrew Angelino, M.D., Chair of Psychiatry at Howard County General Hospital. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second-leading cause of disability in the world, just behind cardiovascular disease.
People who are depressed are far more likely to have other chronic medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, back problems, arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and to have worse outcomes. Untreated depression can even affect your immune response to some vaccines.
Depression is not just debilitating it can be deadly. An estimated one out of five people with depression will attempt suicide at some point.
Knowing How Depression Works Can Help You Better Support Loved Ones Who Are Struggling
If youve never experienced clinical depression, it is hard to understand what it is like. Well-intentioned people will say things like, just think positive, or just snap out of it. Though they may not say it out loud, some people think a person with depression is just being lazy, or just trying to get attention. However, major depressive disorder is a serious psychological condition.
Before I became a clinical psychologist, I experienced a depressive episode after a divorce. The depression completely hijacked my thinking and feelings, and I even seriously contemplated suicide. A family member encouraged me to seek psychotherapy, and it really helped. This is what inspired me to become a psychologist, and I eventually became a board-certified clinical psychology professor. Through my research, writing, and international speaking, one of my personal life missions is to validate peoples struggles and walk with them on the path to recovery from depression.
If you know someone who seems depressed, it can be very difficult to understand, and it can be hard to know what to do. With more knowledge about how depression works, youll be in a better position to offer the most helpful support.
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