Are you wondering if you may be depressed?
Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to see if you may be suffering from depression:
1. Do you feel sad or down most days of the week? For 2 weeks or more?
2. Do you find that you've lost interest in things you used to enjoy?
3. Have you lost your appetite, and/or are you having trouble sleeping?
4. Do you feel hopeless?
5. Do you find yourself crying frequently?
6. Do you feel worthless?
7. Have you thought about wanting to die?
While it's normal to feel down or sad sometimes, if you have been have been experiencing the above mentioned symptoms for 2 weeks or more, it is likely that you may be suffering from a depressive disorder.
Different types of Depressive Disorders
There are several types of depressive disorders. They vary in severity, length of time and root cause.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most common form of depression. It is a mood disorder that is involves sadness or loss of pleasure or interest in most things, and can vary from mild to severe. There are an estimated 15 million Americans who have suffered at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. Unfortunately, in spite of numerous advances in treatment, both psychological and medical, many people suffer in silence and never seek help.
If you have symptoms of mania then you may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder. There are two types of Bipolar disorder, Bipolar disorder I and Bipolar disorder II. Bipolar disorder I is considered to be more severe. Often times when someone has a severe manic episode, they experience psychotic symptoms, and may need to be hospitalized. Bipolar II can often go untreated because people who have manic symptoms can often continue function in their daily lives, even though it may be a strain. There is a strong biological and genetic component to Bipolar disorder.
Technically, an Adjustment disorder is not a mood disorder, but I included it in this list because I think it is important to be able to distinguish between a mood disorder like MDD versus experiencing some symptoms of depression due to a recent adjustment. We all go through changes in life that we need to adjust to - move to a new city, state or country, a death, job change or relationship status such as getting married, going through a divorce, or watching our children grow up and move out of the house. It is normal to feel some depressive symptoms when going through these changes.
Postpartum depression occurs in women after childbirth. Usually, symptoms of depression appear within the first four weeks of childbirth. Some specialists believe, however, that they can first occur anytime within the first year after childbirth.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
SAD is diagnosed when symptoms of depression appear in the fall and winter - when sunlight is reduced. People with SAD usually feel better with the onset of spring.
This type of depression is considered to be a chronic or long standing depression. People suffer from Dysthymia when they have had some symptoms of depression for at least two years. The depressive symptoms are less severe. However, the fact that depressive symptoms are chronic and last for so long, it can be quite debilitating.
If you think that one or more of these depressive disorders sounds like what you could be going through, I'd like to strongly encourage you to reach out to someone for help. You do not need to suffer in silence. While it may be difficult and scary to make initial contact with a therapist, your life is worth it.
Unfortunately, depression is very common. 1 in 3 women suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Men get depressed almost as frequently. But, depression is something that you can overcome with help. While there are a lot of things that can help you, weekly talk therapy is one thing that really does help. Again, I want to encourage you to talk to someone about how you are feeling. While it can be very difficult at times mainly because there is a stigma about feeling depressed - in many families and in many countries - living a life full of shame is miserable. Feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment all to often get in the way of reaching out for help.
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