Am I depressed

So this blog is going to be a bit more sterile than my usually blogs but I think it is important information to share. Enjoy…

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the standard reference for clinical practice in the mental health field when looking at classifying mental illness.  It outlines diagnostic criteria and provides information on development and course for various mental illnesses.  The DSM states that common features throughout all depressive disorders include; “…the presence of sad, empty, or irritable mood, accompanied by somatic and cognitive changes that significantly affect the individual’s capacity to function.” Since depression is a spectrum and can range from mild to severe it is important to know how to recognize possible threats to your mental health.

You can recognize symptoms of a depression by looking for…

·      Loss of interest of pleasure

·      Significant weight changes

·      Diminished concentration

·      Sleep difficulties

·      Daily fatigue

·      Feelings or worthlessness

·      Recurring thoughts of death

Common Risk factors for depression include…

·      Family history of depression or similar disorders

·      Poverty

·      Unemployment

·      Social isolation

·      Regular drug and alcohol abuse

 

Depression is most commonly treated through a combination of counseling and medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques focus on changing self-defeating thoughts and behaviors while medications, such as an SSRI (selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), work to increase the level of serotonin in the brain.

It is extremely important to remember things like sleep, diet, socialization, and exercise can play major roles in your mental health. If you are struggling with depression and are not ready to see a mental health profession, these areas can be a great starting place to form some goals around and monitor your progress. If you are having any suicidal thoughts the best avenue is always to take yourself (or have a friend/relative take you) to the hospital and let them know how you have been feeling/thinking.