Seems like everybody ought to be able to recognize depression, and that it’s so widespread that it can hardly be hidden, but the reality is that many people with major clinical depression are not diagnosed, or are given insufficient treatment to address the realities of their situation.
Major depression is defined as an episode in which for at least two weeks one experiences depressive symptoms almost every day. These may include:
- Feeling hopeless, empty, sad or “down” for most of the day.
- Not feeling enjoyment of, or interest in, most activities, especially those that previously gave a sense of happiness or fulfillment.
- Weight gain or loss: more than 5% of body weight without dieting, or significant change (increase or decrease) in appetite.
- Decreased or increased sleep, without change in activity or need for sleep; increased fatigue or tiredness, or less energy than usual.
- Agitation that is noticeable to the people around you.
- A reduction in movement or activity that is a big enough change that the people around you notice it.
- Guilty feelings, or a sense of worthlessness.
- Difficulty in concentrating or making daily decisions.
- Suicidal thoughts, thinking about death, or an attempt or plan for suicide.
If you’re thinking about suicide, please talk to someone about it now. People who love you will want to know how you’re feeling. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free to anyone in the USA.
The list above can serve as a simple self-diagnosis, but a person who checks even a few of these items should seek professional advice.
Research shows that major depression is increasing, and depressive illness is often associated with a range of other health conditions, and has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
On the other hand, great progress has been made in recent years in treatments and recovery. People who suffer from major depression can go on to build satisfying, productive lives, raise families, and contribute to society. It’s worthwhile to seek help and follow treatment plans because life can always get better.
This blog is one resource that we are trying to make as helpful as possible to people struggling with mood disorders, and in addition, we are excited to announce that this post is actually a sneak preview of the new Bipolar Disorder Workbook authored by our own Dr. Peter Forster and Gina Gregory. It will be available beginning October 9, 2018. Check it out on Amazon!