What Are The Signs
Physical changes may also influence the mood, such as puberty-related hormonal changes or some medical conditions. If you believe your thyroid and other hormones might be depressed, it is a good idea for the doctor to check any drugs you are taking and test them for. Also, you need to try this am I depressed quiz if you have the signs.
If you think you might be at risk, make a rendezvous today to see a doctor. Advantage Health Centers has a team of professionals who seek to restore hope and guide our patients in order to achieve their wellbeing goals.
This confidential depression test will help you determine your symptoms and help you to detect whether you have symptoms of depression.
Please note that a formal diagnosis of depression cannot replace this self-assessment. You should only be diagnosed with a condition such as depression by a medical practitioner. Discuss the findings with a mental health professional to find out whether you need depression treatment.
Can Depression Be Prevented
You can help prevent depression by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing regular self-care activities such as exercise, meditation and yoga.
If youve had depression before, you may be more likely to experience it again. If you have depression symptoms, get help. Care can help you feel better sooner.
Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone
Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.
Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.
Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.
Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Deal With Depression On Your Own
How Do I Know If Im Sad Or Depressed
If youre sad because you lost your job, are going through a breakup, or lost someone in your life its certainly no fun, but its also pretty normal. Sadness, even extreme sadness, is a natural reaction to events like these. That said, regular sadness can also turn into depression. If the feelings dont get better over time, or if your mood starts to get in the way of your daily life, you might be developing a case of depression.
Physical changes can also affect your mood, like hormone changes due to puberty or certain medical treatments or conditions. If you think you might be depressed, its a good idea to have a doctor review any medications youre taking and test your thyroid and other hormone levels.
If you still arent sure why youre feeling down, or if mental illness of any kind runs in your family, theres a decent chance youre experiencing depression. If you havent already done so, consider taking our depression screen.
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Don’t Miss: Mixing Depressants With Alcohol Can Cause
Where Can I Find Clinical Trials For Depression
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so others may receive better help in the future.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials information.
Should You Worry About Antidepressant Withdrawal
No, but its easy to see why some people might think so, because of a medical condition called antidepressant discontinuation syndrome , which can occur if you abruptly stop taking medication rather than tapering off as is generally advised. ADS is marked by a wide range of responses, including but not limited to flu-like symptoms, insomnia, worsening mood, and stomach distress, according to a March 11, 2019, report in Psychiatric Times.
Current estimates are that about 20 percent of patients whove taken an antidepressant for at least a month will experience ADS symptoms if they abruptly stop their medication instead of lowering their dose gradually. Tapering under the care of a doctor can prevent ADS by allowing the brain to adjust to changes in neurotransmitter levels.
More to the point, while you should slowly stop your antidepressant with the help of your doctor, antidepressants do not cause dependence and withdrawal like other substances. Unlike substances that are known to cause addiction, such as alcohol, opioids, and barbiturates, people don’t crave antidepressants. You dont get high from them, and they arent intentionally or compulsively overused. Serious reactions like the seizures and agitation that can follow sudden withdrawal from addictive substances are unheard of when these antidepressants are tapered gradually, note the authors of the Psychiatric Times report.
You May Like: How To Manage Loneliness And Depression
How Is Depression Treated
If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, treatment may involve working with mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and mental therapists.
Along with medications, you may also undergo psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy can help you find strategies for dealing with your symptoms.
Even if you are taking medications and undergoing psychotherapy, certain lifestyle changes can enhance their effectiveness and help you prevent depressive episodes:
Types Of Diagnostic Tools
Researchers have been using such scales since the 1960s. One of the first, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, is still sometimes used today. However, there are many more scales available that are better suited for doctors to use with patients. There are even scales patients can use on their own to track or self-report depression symptoms.
While scales can offer key insights, they tend to be quite different from one another. The way they are administered, the questions they ask, and the way the answers are interpreted may not be the same from one scale to the next.
The inconsistencies of the tools, their use, and interpretation can make it challenging to determine the severity of someones depression, as different scales may provide different results. That said, when used along with other diagnostic measures and the judgment of an experienced clinician, the scales can be useful tools.
Don’t Miss: Videos To Help With Depression
How Is Depression Syndrome Treated
Depression can be serious, but its also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:
- Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
- Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
- Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
- Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they dont, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
- Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy , transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation .
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Depression symptoms include:
- Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
- Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
- Being easily irritated or frustrated.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Changes in how much you sleep.
- Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
- Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, private emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Also Check: What Medication Can Help Depression
How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
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.
You May Like: Is Not Wanting To Do Anything A Sign Of Depression
Understanding A Loved Ones Depression
If someone you care about is dealing with depression, you may not be sure how to support them. If your attempts to help are rejected or dont seem to do any good, you may become frustrated and impatient.
If you feel tempted to tell someone who is depressed to try harder or just snap out of it, it may be a sign that you are overwhelmed or experiencing burnout. If this happens, its important that you pause and take time to reflect on your own feelings. You wont be able to help someone else until you have taken care of your own emotional needs.
When youre worried about a person you care about, the feelings of fear you have may come across as anger when youre talking to them. Even if you aren’t mad or speaking in anger, depression can make it harder for a person to really hear what you are saying. They may interpret your words as being dismissive, accusatory, disappointed, or any number of emotions that arent necessarily accurate.
When youre speaking to your loved one with depression, keep this in mind if it seems like your conversations are full of miscommunication. Although you may want to remind them of all the good things in life or point out that it could be worse, platitudes such as these arent usually helpful for a person with depression to hear.
Physical Effects Of Depression
Depression can appear physically via symptoms felt in the body. Examples of physical effects of depression include sleep disturbance, appetite changes, poor concentration or memory, and a loss of interest in sex. Some people with depression may also feel chronic pain, experience gastrointestinal issues, or have a higher level of fatigue.
Also Check: Weighted Blanket For Anxiety And Depression
Do You Have Depression Or Lifestyle Fatigue
As such, this journey invites you to adopt the attitude that you are attempting to:
With this background in hand, let us move on to Step 1.
Step 1: Realize that you are not alone
We can start with a general point of awareness that is important for not just people who are depressed but for everyone in society. Depression is common. It affects people across all social groups and classes. Consider that the World Health Organization identifies depression as the single most detrimental medical-health condition of all .
There are three key points for this first step. The first is that almost everyone is affected by depression, either directly or indirectly. As such, it is crucial that we are aware of this and create a community that is aware of this. Second, it is crucial that individuals dealing with depression know that they are not alone. The experience of profound loneliness is common in depression and, as we will see, it can contribute significantly to depressive states. However, the fact of the matter is that it is something many people deal with.
This concludes Part I.
What Is Bipolar Disorder
On the other hand, bipolar disorder is a sub-classification of depression. It’s characterized by extreme shifts in mood, thinking and behavior where the individual may feel extreme depression followed by extreme ‘mania‘ characterized by intensely impulsive or hyperactive behaviors. We’ll discuss those types of behaviors and some of the additional symptoms of bipolar disorder in a moment. For now, know that it is characterized by extreme ‘highs and lows.’
Bipolar disorder is characterized primarily by mood swings, but much more intense than mood swings would normally be. For a person without bipolar disorder, they may be happy one day and sad the next without knowing 100% why but the difference between happy and sad may not be extreme. For someone who has bipolar disorder, the difference between happy and sad is very extreme and it can happen in a very short amount of time. The cycles could last for days, or they could last for months, with no warning of when a change is going to occur.
Also Check: Im Super Stressed And Depressed
A Blog Series Guiding Folks Who Are Depressed
I often get letters from individuals who are depressed asking me what they should do. If you go on sites like WebMD, they will tell you that depression is a serious medical condition and that you should consult with your doctor. As such, I will assume you have already heard that piece of advice. Here, I attempt to offer folks something more.
What follows is a 15-part blog series that I have developed to serve as a guide for folks who are feeling depressed or who think they might be and are wondering what to do about it. It is written mostly from a self-help perspective. You do not need to be in therapy . It is probably best suited for folks in the mild-to-moderate range of clinical depression and who have enough mental energy to read and think things through.
It does not try to sell you anything, although it does recommend several books you might consider. It also does not promise you a quick and easy cure. It is a guide that is divided into two broad parts. The first half of the series attempts to help you first understand what depression is, and use that to connect with understanding your situation and who you are as a person. Once we go through the steps of understanding depression and how it fits for what is going on with you, then the second half moves on to explore principles of adaptive living.
These are the guides for doing things differently in the areas: