Major depression is a terrible situation to experience, but don't worry...there is very successful treatment for it. Your job is to reach out for itjust like you have in coming to this page to learn more about it. Statistics say that most every adult will experience an episode of majordepression sometime in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many have recurringepisodes but even then there is hope when you take responsibility for thedisease of depression and manage it much like a person might manage diabetes.
But, first things first. Let's back up. Many people think thatthey have a major depression, and many in fact will have the symptoms, but thefacts will prove us wrong. How, do you say? There are many issues torule out before settling on major depression as a final diagnosis. Threeare the most important and the most commonly seen issues that can occur that looklike major depression but are not. They are:
- A General Medical Condition
- This can be a thyroid problem, circadian rhythm problem or several other medical problems that mimic the symptoms for depression. It's very important, if experiencing major depression symptoms, to have a thorough medical checkup including blood work that involves a thyroid test. This can save you years of spinning around in psychiatry offices attempting to treat the wrong issue.
- A Substance Abuse Problem
- Here's your gut-check question... Are you abusing alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs or any illegal drugs? It's amazing how people who have an addiction will spend enormous time, money and effort treating a bushel of medical or mental health problems when all you would have to do for recovery is stop abusing a drug. So, please be honest with yourself. Your the only one looking at this web page right now. If you have even an abuse problem and not a full-fledged addiction, please give yourself a 30 day break and see if your major depression symptoms begin to dissipate.
- Grieving a Loss
- It's normal to be terribly distraught after a big loss in your life. In fact, all people will experience denial, anger, only ifs, depression and acceptance when losing something or someone important to us. The time to be concerned is when you become non-functional, or stuck in one of the stages I just outlined. Then you may develop major depression and need help.
Possible Symptoms of Major Depression - The 9 Symptoms listed in mydiagnostic manual will be in bold (You have to meet 5 of the 9 to qualify forMajor Depression)
- Depressed mood observed by self or others, lasting most of the day and nearly every day.
- Increased irritability
- Lowered sex drive
- Diminished interest in daily activities
- Strong anxiety
- Lack of pleasure in daily activities
- Loss of ability to laugh and experience joy in your daily life
- Stronger or diminished appetite resulting in weight loss or gain
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping) on a regular basis
- Feeling slowed down in your ability to think or physically move
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Excessive and inappropriate amounts of guilt
- Diminished ability to focus or concentrate
- Thoughts of death
- Thoughts of suicide
- Plan for suicide
- Suicide attempt
I know I have bolded more than 9, but some of the official major depressioncriteria I have split out because I believe they shouldn't be grouped together.
Areas Affected by Major Depression:
- Physical symptoms
- Behavior problems
- Distorted thinking
- Mood and emotional difficulties
- Troubled relationships
- Specific situations that trigger episodes of depression
- Spiritual or symbolic meanings attached to depression
- The personal history that led to lifestyle patterns that seem related to depression
- Physical aches and pains
- Family history of depression or mental illness
Rule of Thumb:
The above criteria is general. Remember, every person experiences majordepression differently. The best way to know if you have major depressionis to be evaluated by a professional. If you would like a couple ofoptions before doing that then I would suggest taking a major depression screenwhich I will list below and you can link to. You will need to have AdobeAcrobat Reader (free) installed on your computer to read it.
Take The Zung Scale Depression Inventory Here.
I also have designed a major depression e-class consisting of 8classes. The first class goes over all the types of depression and thesymptoms of each, which can be very helpful in determining what type ofdepression you might have. You can take a closer look at the class here.
Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
1678 Fry Road, Suite D
Greenwood, Indiana 46142
Major Depression Home Page