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Do I Have Depression?

written by: Debbie Roome • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 5/16/2011

Depression is characterized by a number of signs and symptoms. Reading through a check list of these can be helpful if a person suspects they are suffering from this condition.

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    Do I Have Depression?

    Depression is a well known problem and is generally associated with feeling of sadness. This is one of the core symptoms with the other being a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed. Here is a comprehensive list of symptoms that a person can read through to see if they are depressed:

    • Persistent feelings of sadness and a gloomy outlook on life. The person’s mood is low and they may feel weepy.
    • Activities and hobbies previously enjoyed fall by the wayside as the person loses interest in them.
    • Depression can cause problems with concentration and focus. This leads to lowered performance levels at school, college, work or home. The resulting problems caused by falling grades and inefficiency often exacerbate the depression.
    • Some people struggle to make decisions when depressed. This includes trivial decisions such as what to cook for dinner or what color shirt to wear. In a similar fashion, their ability to run a household and manage their daily routines begins to suffer. Eventually they may become incapable of looking after themselves properly.
    • People who are depressed often withdraw and isolate themselves from family and friends. They mope around at home with little interest in anything around them. Social activity dwindles to a shadow of what it used to be.
    • Libido problems are common and sex may be put on permanent hold due to a complete lack of interest.
    • A depressed person is often quite introspective and highly critical of themselves. This results in low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
    • Irritability is a possible sign of depression.
    • Depression can disrupt normal patterns of sleep. In some cases the person may sleep more than usual but it is more common for them to suffer from insomnia. They lie awake for extended periods at night and feel exhausted during the day.
    • In a similar way, eating habits may change. While some people start eating more, most will lose their appetite and as a result, will lose weight.
    • In the case of a major depression, a person may entertain suicidal thoughts. They think through different scenarios and in some cases, may go as far as attempting suicide.

    The symptoms should have been present for at least two weeks before a diagnosis of depression could be considered.

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    Seeking a Professional Diagnosis of Depression

    If a person is depressed, they will display at least one of the core symptoms along with several others. A person with major depression will exhibit more symptoms than someone who is mildly depressed and the intensity of the symptoms will be greater. Depression can be a debilitating and life-threatening condition and should never be ignored. If the answer to the question, 'do I have depression' is yes, the best thing to do is seek a professional diagnosis and allow a doctor to draw up a treatment plan. In some cases, it may be advisable for family or friends to book a doctor’s appointment and take the person along if they seem too depressed to be able to help themselves.

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    References

    Taming the Black Dog, Bev Aisbett, HarperCollins Publishers, 2000

    http://www.allaboutdepression.com/dia_03.html

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