Everyone knows life has its ups and downs. Things happen. Accidents, unexpected illness and the death of loved ones can lead to feeling sadness, stress and worry. Under these circumstances, feeling down is natural and normal. However, if your sad feelings persist for more than a couple of weeks or months then you might be clinically depressed – which is a serious condition. In contrast to normal sadness, clinical depression is persistent, interferes with one’s ability to experience or anticipate pleasure, and significantly limits daily life functioning.
Do This Depression Assessment
If you don’t know if your sadness is normal, consider taking the quick assessment below. If you have at least five of the symptoms listed for two consecutive weeks, you may have a major depression. At least one of the five symptoms must be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
Here you go:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in activities most of the day, nearly every day
- Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Restlessness or irritability
- Feelings of anxiety
- Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
- Inappropriate guilt
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or attempts at suicide
(Sources: National Institute of Mental Health and National Women’s Health Center.)
If you have concerns following this assessment, make an appointment with your SoFHA physician – as there might be some underlying medical reason for your situation. A drug you’re taking or an undiagnosed condition, such as thyroid disorder, could be causing your symptoms. After other possibilities are ruled out, your doctor will help you determine the next best course of action in addressing your feelings.
Want to learn about depression? Read Depression: What You Need To Know, a downloadable booklet provided online by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health.