Am I a Depressed Person?

If you are like most people, you might be able to recall a few times in your life when you went through a sad time. Maybe you wondered “Why am I so depressed?” Everyone feels sad at times, it’s a normal reaction to life’s problems and disappointments.

But how do you know when sadness is more than just a transient feeling? When do you need to seek professional help? Depression is a clinical condition, and in its most serious state, it can prevent people from being happy and living a normal life.

Why Do I Feel Depressed?

Major depression occurs roughly twice as often in women than in men. There are multiple contributing factors that can lead to depression. One common factor is the role of genetics. If you have been diagnosed with depression, there is a strong possibility that someone else in your family currently has, or has had the same diagnosis as you. Barring genetic links, there might be a medical cause or you might be going through an incredibly difficult emotional time. Regardless of the cause, it is important to seek therapeutic advice and begin the proper course of treatment as soon as possible.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression?

Are you having trouble concentrating? Do you keep on forgetting details? Do you struggle with decision-making? Do you have trouble sleeping and you are tired all the time? Are you restless and irritable? Do you have constant feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness? Are you overeating or undereating? Do you have physical symptoms that won’t go away even after treatment? Have you lost interest in things you once enjoyed? Have you thought about suicide or made an attempt to end your life?

Symptoms of depression can begin slowly and without treatment can worsen over time. If you have had overwhelming sadness for more than two weeks, you should seek help from a professional. 

Recognizing the symptoms of the depressed person is the first step to getting help.

When To Seek Help For Depression

Having feelings of sadness doesn’t mean that you have clinical depression. Seek help if your symptoms get worse, especially if you have changes in your sleep, energy, appetite, focus, and motivation. Even if you do not receive a formal diagnosis of depression, early treatment can help prevent the symptoms from progressing.

If depressive symptoms are causing problems in your relationships, work, friends, or family, a psychologist can help. 

The Journey in Seeking Professional Help

The first stop of your journey should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. There is no single test for depression, but there are ways that doctors can screen for depression. Your doctor will ask you many questions, they would want to know what your symptoms are when they started, how severe they are, and how long they tend to last. Since depression can be genetic, your doctor will want to know if other members of your family have depression or other types of mental illnesses.

Medical doctors do their due diligence and try to rule out any physical cause of depression. Barring any physical reason for depression, the doctor will develop a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms. Treatment may include taking a prescription for an anti-depressant, starting therapy sessions, or both.

What Happens If Depression Goes Untreated?

If you choose to delay getting help for depression, symptoms could quickly get worse. Symptoms could last for months or years and cause deep, emotional pain. It is especially important for people who are having thoughts or discussions about suicide to get immediate help from a medical professional or psychologist.

As a friend or family member take note of a person who frequently talks or thinks about death. People who are thinking about suicide may take risks that could lead to death.

Take note if someone who appears physically healthy seems to be putting their final affairs in order, writing a will, changing a will, or tying up loose ends. People who intend to end their lives make final visits or phone calls to their loved ones.  

If you have a suicide plan go to your nearest emergency room.