Get To Know Depression

Sadness is one of the most basic emotions every human feels. It happens, at earliest, when we were deprived of our needs when we were little. As we grow older, the reasons for sadness become more complex, but the feeling is still familiar nevertheless. Though sadness is a normal thing, depression is another story. More often than not, if you’ve never been clinically depressed, we doubt you’ve got a handle on what degree of distress depression really brings as a mental illness.

A sneaky condition, depression starts out small and unnoticeable and when it grows to something attention-grabbing, it becomes way more serious. Impacting not just a person’s mood, depression also affects the other areas of a person’s life including doing daily activities that he or she normally does. The worst of it happens when the person with depression loses all hope and finds their way to the highest roofing. With the belief that nothing good will ever happen, depression can do real damage to someone’s life.

How To Tell If Someone Is Suffering From Depression

The American Psychiatric Association credits the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5 as the basis for diagnosis for mental illnesses. As this manual is used by most professionals in the mental health arena, it is smart to also go through the symptoms that are presented here.

Sadness is not the only symptom of depression, in fact, the degree of sadness is even looked into. Experiencing at least five of these for a minimum of 14 days may give you a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This is what is considered as “clinical depression”.

The list of the symptoms includes feeling hollow, tearful or having no worth, having minimal or no interest in things that used to give you pleasure, experiencing drastic fluctuations in appetite or losing or gaining weight without changing your diet, feeling unreasonably tired, having trouble focusing, displaying anxious behavior or behaving uncharacteristically slower than normal, sleeping too little or too much, and having suicidal thoughts repeatedly.

In order to have an MDD diagnosis, one of the symptoms has to be one of the two: insistent sadness or having a heavy mood or not getting pleasure from things that used to. Moreover, to credit any of the symptoms you experience to another medical condition or to substance abuse is not considered. Having another condition automatically disqualifies someone.

Any of these symptoms are easily experienced by all of us to some degree at a certain point in our lives and that is actually normal. What makes depression different, however, is experiencing these consistently and so much that they now find it hard to proceed with their daily lives. The gravity of the symptoms does not allow them to get out of bed and do their usual routine anymore.

If you feel like you’re getting close to a diagnosis based on the abovementioned list, it is best to talk to a mental health professional first before calling different insurance companies. It’s good to acknowledge your challenges but it’s best to verify first. If you’re hesitating to talk to one directly, you can look up a questionnaire called the PHQ-9 Patient Health Questionnaire and answer it first to get a clearer picture of how you’re doing. It’s actually something a professional should conduct but it is upfront enough for you to do yourself for the time being.

We don’t really know why depression happens yet, but research studies have been conducted. Though the solid cause is still indefinable, there are ways to help those who suffer through it. If you’re troubled with the degree of some of your symptoms, if you need to talk to someone for any uneasiness, or if you have any ideas about suicide, hotlines are provided to address these. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255 while the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline is 800-662-4357. These numbers are open and available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week including holidays.

Based on materials from Everyday Health

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