How Do You Know You are Depressed?

 In Articles, Depression Therapy, Mental Health Therapist

How Do You Know if You are Depressed?

Are you wondering if you are depressed?  Is there a test?  An assessment?  There are several different types of assessments, or screeners, for depression, such as the Beck Depression Inventory.

How Do Therapists Assess for Depression?

First, let’s step back and look at the symptoms of depression because it can be difficult to distinguish depression from the ups and downs of life.  Therapists and counselors use the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) put out by the American Psychological Association to diagnose various conditions.

A person needs to have five of the following nine symptoms to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).  Keep in mind that if you work with a counseling group like New Leaf, which does not take insurance, you would not need to have an official diagnosis.  Estimates vary, but as many as 7% of the population are diagnosed with MDD.  That would be almost 23 million in the U.S!  It’s quite common, nothing of which to be ashamed.

Do You Have These Symptoms of Depression?

Several of the symptoms of depression need to be experienced “most of the day, nearly every day” over a two-week period.  These symptoms include:

  • depressed mood,
  • diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities,
  • and diminished ability to think or concentrate.

Other symptoms include:

  • weight loss (or gain),
  • sleep disruptions (or too much sleep),
  • fatigue or loss of energy,
  • feelings of worthlessness and guilt,
  • agitation,
  • and thinking about death or suicide.

If you meet five or more of these criteria and they cause significant relationship or occupational disruption, then you meet the criteria for MDD.

What if You Do Not Have Major Depressive Disorder?

It is worth noting that even if your symptoms don’t rise to the level of Major Depressive Disorder, there are other diagnoses, such as Specified (or Unspecified) Depressive Disorder.  Even if you don’t meet any of these diagnoses, it may very well benefit you to come to therapy.  Therapy is a process of growing, no matter how well or badly we might feel.  I believe counseling is THE best investment we can make in ourselves!  Why don’t you try it?

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