“An estimated 16 million American adults—almost 7% of the population—had at least 1 major depressive episode last year.” NAMI
“…If all people reject you in the mid of the arduous race of life, dare to smile and move on for there are people who await you to embrace you in the end” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is a common and often serious mood disorder causing severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities. Tasks like sleeping, eating, general self-care or working are frequently difficult to manage when one is depressed.
Physician opinions vary, and every patient is different, but guidelines state that symptoms must be present for at least two weeks for an official diagnosis. (NIMH) While it is easy to find many online depression screening sites this is not one of them and should not be used in the place of seeing a professional.
There are different kinds of depression. Varying from “Persistent Depressive Disorder” (or “dysthymia”), that causes mild chronic depression symptoms for long periods of time without causing one to lose the same level of functionality, there is also the more serious, psychotic depression.
There is risk involved when one is either delays a visit to the doctor or if one does not see a doctor that has experience in mood disorders. When one is feeling depressed it is important to see a doctor that has mental health training.
The symptoms of depression vary per individual but may include one or more of the following*:
- Loss of interest or loss of pleasure in all activities
- Change in appetite or weight
- Sleep disturbances
- Feeling agitated or feeling slowed down
- Feelings of low self-worth, guilt or shortcomings
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or intentions
It is true that, in the beginning, we are unsure that what we are feeling is depression. We are unsure if the feelings we are having are exhaustion or sadness from a recent stressor so we try to wait the feelings out. Another contributing factor to waiting before seeing a professional about symptoms of depression can be the stigma surrounding mental illness. While we live in a time that has seen considerable de-stigmatizing of mental health issues, there are still many cultural or gender issues that make seeking help for mental health issues difficult.
Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression. Young adults aged 18–25 are 60% more likely to have depression than people aged 50 or older.
There is a large and ever-growing population of college students diagnosed with depression. 44% of college students report having felt some symptoms while 75% do not seek treatment.
Mental Health Professionals
Seeking a skilled mental health professional provides one with an opportunity to obtain an accurate diagnosis, to create a full treatment plan that may include medications, therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, traditional talk therapy, or further testing with other doctors such as a neuropsychologist.
If finding a psychiatrist or therapist is a daunting task your family physician may be able to make a referral for you. Are you unsure whether you need a psychiatrist or a therapist? Learn more about what kind of doctor you need out of the many mental health professionals there are out there.
Learn more about the different kinds of depression:
Types of Depression
Other sources: National Institute for Mental Health, Mayo Clinic, DSM5.org