You’re Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little
Some people with depression find themselves snoozing under the covers more the disengagement and dip in energy make you tired all the time, says Thomas. “Sleeping more is also a way depressed people escape from their sadness it becomes a refuge,” she adds. Others with depression experience restless or interrupted sleep or even insomniathey’re too wired by obsessive thoughts or ruminations to wind down and score the seven to eight hours per night most adults need. Thing is, not only can sleep changes be a tipoff to the disease, but they also make it worse. When you’re not getting the proper amount of shuteye, your body’s internal clock gets out of sync, and you’re even more tired and unfocused…and less able to cope.
Signs You Should Talk With Your Doctor About Depression
Havent felt like yourself lately or longer than just lately? When you feel tired all the time, disinterested in the people, places and activities you love and altogether fatigued in body and mind, you might be facing depression. But you dont have to struggle with it alone, and you can receive help.
Depression isnt a dirty word. Its an extremely common mental health condition almost 17 million Americans have major depressive disorder and most importantly, you can overcome it. Depression might come and go during your lifetime, but its nothing to be ashamed of, and its fully treatable.
If you feel like you might have depression, its normal to feel nervous talking about it. However, your health care team wants to help you feel like yourself again. Your physician, as well as the whole team of compassionate people at the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, are here to talk through your symptoms with you non-judgmentally and help you get the treatment that works.
Common Causes Of Depression
Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a persons risk for developing it themselves.
- Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
- Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
- Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
- Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
- Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.
People who believe that they may have hidden depression should speak to their doctor or a mental health professional. These professionals can help make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.
Other steps to treat depression might include:
Not everyone with depression will display the typical symptoms of sadness and despair.
Sometimes, the only signs a person may show are physical, such as fatigue, insomnia, or weight changes.
Read Also: How To Treat A Friend With Depression
How Does A Doctor Make A Depression Diagnosis
We’ve gotten used to doctors using special blood tests or other complex laboratory tests to help them make a conclusive diagnosis. But most lab tests arenât very helpful when it comes to diagnosing depression. In fact, talking with the patient may be the most important diagnostic tool the doctor has. The recommendation is that doctors routinely screen everyone for depression. This screening might take place during a visit for a chronic illness, at an annual wellness visit, or during a pregnancy or postpartum visit.
To effectively diagnose and treat depression, the doctor must hear about specific symptoms of depression. They may use a series of standard questions to screen for depression. While a physical examination will reveal a patient’s overall state of health, by talking with a patient, a doctor can learn about other things that are relevant to making a depression diagnosis. A patient, for example, can report on such things as daily moods, behaviors, and lifestyle habits.
A depression diagnosis is often difficult to make because clinical depression can show up in so many different ways. For example, some clinically depressed people seem to withdraw into a state of apathy. Others may become irritable or even agitated. Eating and sleeping patterns can be exaggerated. Clinical depression may cause someone to sleep or eat to excess, or almost eliminate those activities.
Depression And Gender: Is It Different In Men And Women
When it comes to depression, there is a distinct gender gap. Depression is nearly twice as common in women as in men, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Hormonal and other biological factors play a role in this disparity. After all, only women can have premenstrual or postpartum depression. The same is true of antepartum depression which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates affects one in seven women.
But women also have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder, depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder, and persistent depressive disorder, note Harvard Health experts. The reasons for this are cause for speculation. Some researchers believe that environmental factors, such as the different and expectations that society places on women, are an important factor. Others theorize that men and women actually have depression at similar rates, but that women are more likely to talk about their feelings and seek help.
Recommended Reading: How Long Can You Suffer From Depression
Depression And Suicide Risk
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. Deep despair and hopelessness can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and watch for the warning signs:
- Talking about killing or harming ones self.
- Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped.
- An unusual preoccupation with death or dying.
- Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish .
- Getting affairs in order .
- Saying things like Everyone would be better off without me, or I want out.
- A sudden switch from being extremely down to acting calm and happy.
If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
If you are feeling suicidal
When youre feeling suicidal, your problems dont seem temporarythey seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you get help. There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out!
ReadSuicide Help, call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S., or visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.
Learn More About Depression
Depression can make you feel alone but you have lots of company. Major depressive disorder , the clinical term for depression, is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting an estimated 350 million people in all age groups. You should know that depression isnt the same as being sad. Its normal to feel blue or unmotivated from time to time, but depression is more constant. And, it has a real, biological basis.
Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.
The above quiz is based on the Patient Health Questionnaire . If you think you may be suffering from Depression and/or you are experiencing a mental health crisis, we strongly suggest that you reach out to to a qualified mental health professional. To aid in your search please consider our directory of emergency mental health resources.
Also Check: Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder In Partial Remission
Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse.
If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
Need to talk to someone?
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Depression Treatment Designed With Your Needs In Mind
At the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, we treat mental health conditions like depression with whole-person care. Our compassionate team of mental health professionals not only treat your symptoms but help you feel whole, physically, mentally and spiritually.
To help you overcome depression, our team can help you choose a treatment that works, like deep brain stimulation, talk therapy, a neuropsychiatric approach or medication management with innovative medications like SPRAVATOTM.
Learn more about our mental health care for depression or reach out to us to get started.
Also Check: Why Do I Have To Have Depression
Are There Warning Signs Of Suicide With Depression
Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Suicidal thoughts or intentions are serious. Warning signs include:
- A sudden switch from sadness to extreme calmness, or appearing to be happy
- Always talking or thinking about death
- Clinical depression that gets worse
- Taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
- Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
- Putting affairs in order, like tying up loose ends or changing a will
- Saying things like “It would be better if I weren’t here” or “I want out”
- Talking about suicide
- Visiting or calling close friends and loved ones
If you or someone you know shows any of the above warning signs, call your local suicide hotline, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room.
You’re Preoccupied With Thoughts Of Death
Persistent thoughts about ending your life, wondering how friends and family would feel if you went and did it, pondering different ways to carry out the act, and even general thoughts about death are all strong indicators that it’s time to reach out for professional help, says Wolkin. “Because these thoughts pose such a direct threat to your life, it’s important to seek help if you experience them daily or almost every day for two weeks, even if you don’t recognize any other symptoms of depression in yourself,” she says.
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What Hidden Depression Can Look Like
Its important to watch for any changes in behavior. When people have depression, they may begin to act differently than they used to act, even if theyre not acting sad or listless.
One or two changes on their own dont necessarily signal that someone is hiding depression, but several that occur around the same time may be cause for concern.
When someone is experiencing symptoms of depression but not talking about it, attentive people around them might notice these kinds of changes:
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.
Also Check: Emory Treatment Resistant Depression Clinic
Risk Factors For Depression
Depression can affect anyoneeven a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
When To Seek Professional Help
If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes arent enough, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for depression, including:
Therapy. Consulting a therapist can provide you tools to treat depression from a variety of angles and motivate you to take the action necessary. Therapy can also offer you the skills and insight to prevent the problem from coming back.
Atypical Depression: Whats in a Name? Article on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of atypical depression.
Depression and Other Illnesses An overview of the mental and physical illnesses that often co-exist with depression, and how this impacts treatment.
Depression support & suicide prevention help
In the U.S.: Find DBSA Chapters/Support Groups or call the NAMI Helpline for support and referrals at 1-800-950-6264
UK: Find Depression support groups in-person and online or call the Mind Infoline at 0300 123 3393
Australia: Find Support Groups and regional resources or call the SANE Help Centre at 1800 18 7263
India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline at 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330
Suicide prevention help
In the U.S.: Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
UK and Ireland: Call Samaritans UK at 116 123
Australia: Call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14
Other countries: Visit IASP or International Suicide Hotlines to find a helpline near you
Read Also: What Percentage Of The World Suffers From Depression
How Can Depression Symptoms Lead To A Depression Diagnosis
To be diagnosed with major depression, you must have at least five of the symptoms listed above with at least one of the first two nearly daily for at least 2 weeks.
Depression symptoms can last weeks, months, or sometimes years. They can affect personality and interfere with social relationships and work habits, potentially making it difficult for others to have empathy for you. Some symptoms are so disabling that they interfere significantly with your ability to function. In very severe cases, people with depression may be unable to eat, maintain their hygiene, or even get out of bed.
Episodes may happen only once in a lifetime or may be recurrent, chronic, or longstanding. In some cases, they seem to last forever. Symptoms may appear to be precipitated by life crises. At other times, they may seem to happen at random.
Clinical depression commonly goes along with other medical illnesses such as heart disease or cancer and worsens the prognosis for these illnesses.
Who Can Diagnose Depression
Primary care providers often diagnose depression. They may refer an individual to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment. Typically, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, the provider uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to make a diagnosis.3 They go through the criteria in the DSM to see how many criteria the person meets, Hollon says.
Also Check: How To Combat Clinical Depression
What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Help
The first step in seeking professional help is to visit your primary care provider . Your doctor may do some basic screening and ask questions to learn more about your symptoms. You may also want to bring a list of your own questions. From there, you might be referred to a mental health specialist, like a psychiatrist or psychologist.7 Remember, its your health journey. You can feel empowered to ask questions that help shape a care plan that’s comfortable for you.
Take The Depression Test
Depression strikes millions each year, often with debilitating consequences. This psychological disorder is so common that it is sometimes referred to as the “common cold” of mental health, with nearly 10% of the population suffering from a depressive disorder at any given time.
Depression has a high cure rate. Effective treatments exist to help bring people’s lives back under control. Yet tragically many people suffering from this illness go without diagnosis and treatment. This depression test is a tool that may help you recognize the symptoms of depression and decide to get help. Please note that only a licensed professional can diagnose depression.
Recommended Reading: How Much Of The World Has Depression
Risk Factors For Suicide
Not all people with risk factors will be suicidal. In addition to depression or other mental illness, risk factors for suicide include:
- Current or past history of substance abuse
- Past history of suicide attempt
- Family history of suicide
- Family history of mental illness or substance abuse
- Firearms in the home
- Feelings of hopelessness
What Can I Do If I Have Depression
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life:
- Go to the emergency department of your hospital.
- Contact a healthcare provider.
- Speak to a trusted friend, family member or spiritual leader.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Anyone can experience depression even if there doesnt seem to be a reason for it. Causes of depression include difficulties in life, brain chemistry abnormalities, some medications and physical conditions. The good news is that depression is treatable. If you have symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel better
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2020.
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