Depression: Is this how you feel?







What is depression?


Being clinically depressed is very different from the down type of feeling that all people experience from time to time. Occasional feelings of sadness are a normal part of life, and it is unfortunate that such feelings are often colloquially referred to as "depression." In clinical depression, such feelings are out of proportion to any external causes. There are things in everyone's life that are possible causes of sadness, but people who are not clinically depressed manage to cope with these things without becoming incapacitated. As one might expect, depression can present itself as feeling sad or "having the blues". However, sadness may not always be the dominant feeling of a depressed person. Depression can also be experienced as a numb or empty feeling, or perhaps no awareness of feeling at all. A depressed person may experience a noticeable loss in their ability to feel pleasure about anything. Depression, as viewed by psychiatrists, is an illness in which a person experiences a marked change in their mood and in the way they view themselves and the world. Depression as a significant depressive disorder ranges from short in duration and mild to long term and very severe, even life threatening. Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as do other illnesses such as heart disease. The three most prevalent forms are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.






Are You Depressed? FOR MORE THAN TWO WEEKS:
1. Do you feel sad, blue, unhappy or "down in the dumps
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
2. Do you feel tired, having little energy, unable to concentrate?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
3. Do you feel uneasy, restless or irritable?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
4. Do you have trouble sleeping or eating (too little or too much)?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
5. Do you feel that you are not enjoying the activities that you used to?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
6. Do you feel that you lost interest in sex or experiencing sexual difficulties?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
7. Do you feel that it takes you longer than before to make decisions or unable to concentrate?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
8. Do you feel inadequate, like a failure or that nobody likes you anymore?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
9. Do you feel guilty without a rational reason, or put yourself down?
A. Never
B.
Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
10. Do you feel that things always go or will go wrong no matter how hard you try?
A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time
__________________________________________________________________________ Disclaimer: ODST is a preliminary screening test for depressive symptoms that does not replace in any way a formal psychiatric evaluation. It is designed to give a preliminary idea about the presence of mild to moderate depressive symptoms that indicate the need for an evaluation by a psychiatrist.






What are the typical symptoms of depression?


A depressive disorder is a "whole-body" illness, involving your body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things. A depressive disorder is not a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help over 80% of those who suffer from depression. Bipolar depression includes periods of high or mania. Not everyone who is depressed or manic experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Also, severity of symptoms varies with individuals. Symptoms of Depression: Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed, including sex Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping. Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain Decreased energy. fatigue, being "slowed down" Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts Restlessness, irritability Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.







How do you know when depression is severe enough that help should be sought?


Professional help is needed when symptoms of depression arise without a clear precipitating cause, when emotional reactions are out of proportion to life events, and especially when symptoms interfere with day-to-day functioning.. Professional help should definitely be sought if a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts.





Where should a person go for help?


If you think you might need help, see your internist or general practitioner and explain your situation. Sometimes an actual physical illness can cause depression-like symptoms so that is why it is best to see your regular physician first to be checked out. Your doctor should be able to refer you to a psychiatrist if the severity of your depression warrants it. Other sources of help include the members of the clergy, local suicide hotline, local hospital emergency room, local mental health center.





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