If you think you might be suffering from depression, you are not alone. Depression affects about 9.5% of the adult population in the United States; that means about 20 million people. Depression also affects children and adolescents. As many as 2% of children and 4% - 8% of adolescents may suffer from major depression. It is much more than just feeling down, blue or sad. Depression interferes with life and affects relationships. There are several types of depression, including:
- Major Depression
- Dysthymic Disorder – a low grade depression that has been present “more days than not”, for two years
- Post-Partum Depression – more serious depression than just “baby blues”.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – depression that sets in during winter months when days are short and there is less sunlight.
People struggling with depression often think they should be able to get over it or pull themselves out of it on their own, but find they can’t. There are a variety of causes of depression, including genetics, biological factors, psychological factors and situational stress. Major transitions like losses – of relationships, jobs, financial security, or traumatic events can trigger episodes of depression.
Depression symptoms include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness and/or helplessness
- Loss of interest in activities
- Aches and pains
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Thoughts of death, wanting to die, thoughts of suicide
Among children and adolescents, depression can be overlooked because they may appear irritable, angry, defiant, disrespectful or complain of stomachaches and headaches rather than sad, hopeless or suicidal.
Take this depression test to see if it is time for you to seek professional help for your symptoms of depression:
1. I am unable to do things I used to do.
2. I feel hopeless about the future.
3. I can’t make decisions.
4. I feel sluggish or restless.
5. I am gaining or losing weight.
6. I get tired for no reason.
7. I am sleeping too much, or too little.
8. I feel unhappy.
9. I become irritable or anxious.
10. I think about dying or killing myself.
If you answered yes to question 10, you should seek help immediately, regardless of your answer to any other questions.
If you answered yes to 5 or more of these questions, and you felt this way every day for several weeks, there is a good chance you are suffering from depression symptoms and could benefit from professional help.