Depression is such a commonly used word these days. Most people understand that depression is feeling down or low, but that can be part of everyone’s experience of life’s ups and downs. Clinical depression is more significant because it does not get better on its own. So, if you have a bad day, but get up the next morning feeling better, you are most likely not depressed.
Depression typically begins subtly, a sort of slow feeling of detaching from life, or not feeling much at all. It can be accompanied by feelings of anger or periods of anxiety. Most people who are depressed describe feeling ‘not themselves’. People around them often notice changes in the way that a depressed person interacts or doesn’t interact with others.
Here is a checklist to help identify symptoms of depression for adults (the symptoms may be different for children or adolescents):
- Persistent sad/low mood
- Feeling empty
- Feeling hopeless or guilty
- Substance Abuse
- Loss of interest in activities
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Increased crying
- Increased anxiety or panic attacks
- Inability to make decisions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Persistent physical ailments that do not improve with medical treatment
- Thoughts of death/suicide
If many of these symptoms apply to you or someone you love, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. If you are uncertain about some of these symptoms or not sure if you are depressed, a therapist or doctor can help you make that determination.
The bad news is that it can feel very overwhelming and difficult to reach out and do the things that might help. This is where treatment can come in. Typically, after an assessment with a therapist, a course of therapy will be recommended that may or may not include medications. The good news is that there is help and there are many therapies that can be done to help someone who is depressed feel better. Depression is progressive and it can get worse if not treated. Feeling better is worth the call to a counselor or therapist!