Am I Depressed?
The following is a list of symptoms that are characteristic of depression. Most of us experience some of these symptoms from time to time. It is therefore important to differentiate between feeling depressed and feeling sad. Individuals who are depressed feel this way most of the day for more days than not. Typically, this feeling of depression will be present for at least 2 weeks. Individuals who are sad often have improved mood after some time passes. Depression can also be characterized as more extreme than sadness is. Another important distinguishing feature is that depression typically interferes significantly with daily functioning while sadness generally does not. For example, individuals who are depressed may have difficulty with school, work, or relationships. In more severe cases of depression, suicidal thoughts are present, while this would not be the case with sadness.
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Weight loss or gain
- Increase or decrease in sleep
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness/ Low self-esteem
- Difficulty with concentration and/or decision making
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of death/suicide
If I think I might be depressed, what should I do?
Be sure to seek professional help. Psychologists and other mental health professionals are trained to assess and treat depression. Call us to set up an individual appointment with a counselor where you can confidentially discuss your concerns. Referrals to outside agencies are also available. Sometimes a referral to a psychiatrist is helpful if medication is needed.
The Good News…
Depression can be treated! There are several effective treatment modalities available. Each person needs to determine which approach is the most beneficial to him or her. Seeking professional guidance in this process can be extremely helpful.
Here is a brief overview of the two most effective treatments available: therapy and medication.
- Psychotherapy: Approximately 70% of individuals seeking therapy for mild to moderate depression will benefit. It may take 12 to 16 sessions for significant improvement. Not only has research shown that psychotherapy works as well as medication, but it has also demonstrated that the beneficial effects of therapy often last longer.
- Interpersonal therapy addresses interpersonal problems that contribute to depressive symptoms.
- Cognitive therapy focuses on how the way a person thinks impacts their mood.
- Behavior therapy addresses how actions effect feelings.
- Medication: This treatment modality can be particularly helpful for individuals suffering from severe depression. These medications work by increasing the availability of certain chemicals in the brain. Approximately 70% will benefit from this type of treatment. Most medications addressing depression take 2 to 4 weeks to work. It is often useful to combine medication and therapy treatments.
If you would like additional information on depression, you can attend one of our scheduled workshops or visit this site: American Psychological Association