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Am I depressed? Everyone goes through a rough patch from time to time, but what is the difference between being a bit down and having depression?

In this blog we aim to outline the signs and symptoms so you can find the right treatment faster…

 

What is depression?

The first thing to realise that feeling low is completely normal. Usually, these episodes pass with time, but if you find that you just can’t shake off your despair, you may be suffering with depression. While we all have emotional reactions to stressful periods in our professional and personal lives, depression goes much deeper and affects everything you do. It is common for people with depression to feel they have tunnel vision and overwhelming apathy. If you cut your finger, the right treatment is obvious, but depression is much more complex and can be caused by any number of physical, psychological or social reasons that are unique to each individual. However, the one thing all sufferers have in common is that they are not alone. Only by understanding the symptoms of depression can you begin your journey to a happier life.

What are the symptoms?

To answer the question “Am I depressed?”, you need to understand that depression affects different people in different ways. Below we have listed some of the most common signs to look out for. Please note that many of these symptoms are normal emotions we might experience on certain days, the key is the strength and length of time involved.

  • Mood: Deep sadness or tearfulness; outbursts of anger or general irritability which in extreme cases can lead to violence. Finding that everything annoys you.
  • Enthusiasm: a lack of interest in your friends or favourite hobbies. A lack of interest or enjoyment of pleasurable activities.
  • Energy: physical tiredness or aches and pains. Having difficulty completing simple household tasks.
  • Helplessness: a general feeling of helplessness that affects your outlook on daily life. You feel that there’s nothing you can do to make things better.
  • Appetite: losing or gaining weight is common.
  • Sleep: look for changes in your sleep pattern, such as waking early or late and suffering insomnia.
  • Guilt: being overly critical and blaming yourself for your failings.
  • Escapism: this can lead to drug abuse, drinking, gambling or other dangerous activities.
  • Concentration: lack of focus, putting off decisions and a poor memory.

If you want to be assessed for depression, our online test kit, powered by PREDICTIX, helps your doctor to assess and provide accurate, personalised treatment for you. Find out more…

What are the typical causes of depression?

There can be any number of personal issues which can lead to someone feeling depressed, but here is a list of the most common factors:

  • Loneliness 
  • Relationship problems
  • Stressful experiences (bereavement, financial difficulty etc)
  • Serious physical illness
  • Poor lifestyle choices
  • Personality (anxiety, negativity, low self-esteem etc)
  • Childhood trauma 
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.

Does depression affect men and women differently?

Am I depressed? That’s a question asked by all ages and genders, but the symptoms of depression can vary. For example, men are less likely to recognise feelings of hopelessness but will complain about tiredness, a lack of sleep or a lack of interest in work. Men are more prone to feelings of anger.

Women often experience feelings of guilt, oversleeping and weight gain. Depression is also affected by hormone changes brought about by periods, pregnancy and menopause. 

Teenagers display depression as anger, while having physical symptoms such as headaches and other pains. Older people show more physical signs such as fatigue, while losing an interest in their medication and personal appearance.

Are there different types of depression?

There are many kinds of depression, so it’s important to understand the severity of your symptoms so you can identify the right treatment for you.

Mild depression is common and involves brief periods of feeling down, which negatively affects your enthusiasm for life. If the symptoms get worse they can lead to chronic depression, also known as dysthymia, which can last years. This leaves you feeling low most days, with occasional periods of normality.

Major or clinical depression is rare and relentless. While some sufferers might experience a period of depression once in their lives, others find that their depression keeps returning.

There are many other types of depression, such as atypical depression when sufferers enjoy a brief uplift after a positive experience. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is common in the UK and is triggered by the lack of daylight during winter.

Am I a suicide risk?

When people ask “am I depressed?” they are naturally worried that their condition might lead them to be considered a suicide risk. Depression is a major cause of suicide, as sufferers believe that taking their own life is the only way to relieve the pain. 

If you think that you, a friend or a family member is a suicide risk, seek help immediately by contacting the Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, you can call them at any time, from any phone for FREE. Call 116 123 or visit https://www.samaritans.org.

How do you treat depression?

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people who suffer from depression can go on to make a full recovery. Typical treatments include lifestyle changes, therapy and medicine. 

If you think that you are suffering from depression, you could take a positive step forward by seeking the support of family and friends. However, this may not always be possible in which case it is important that you seek professional help.

We offer a fast, discreet and affordable way to get a medical diagnosis and treatment recommendations for all mental health conditions. Find out more…