How to know you have depression

by | Sep 16, 2022 | Education

As a therapist I hear this question all the time. Whether I’m in a session with a client or even when I’m living my life and not working. People do wonder. How can I tell if I’m depressed?

There are actually some simple ways for you to tell if you have symptoms of depression. Therapists don’t typically focus their work on diagnosis but we all learn about the criteria when we are in school. In addition, working in field with people for many years makes it easier to tell if someone is presenting symptoms of depression. 

Depression can have a great impact on on our lives and can influence how we show up in our work, relationships, and personal life. Therefore, it is important to identify the the symptoms and if necessary receive a proper diagnosis. The good news is, depression is treatable with therapy and in some cases both therapy and medication.  

Here are some of the common symptoms of depression to help you identify if you have been struggling with depression. The first two are the two main criteria that clinicians use when looking for possible diagnoses of  depression. In order to be officially diagnosed with depression you need five of the following symptoms and one of them has be either number one or two.

  1. Having a depressed mood and feelings of sadness. This is something that tends to linger and last for a long period of time, sometimes weeks or months.
  2. Feeling no interest or pleasure in the things that you once enjoyed.  This looks likes when someone loses the zest for life. Things that brought joy to your life before now won’t bring any feelings of  happiness.
  3. Having sleep difficulties. When you have depression you may have insomnia or you may sleep more than usual. You may also have trouble going to sleep or staying sleep.
  4. Any changes in appetite or weight. When you are depressed you may not have an appetite for food. You could also eat constantly. The change in the appetite is a symptom of depression. In addition, any changes in the weight (loss or gain) is also a symptom. 
  5. Lack of concentration. This is a common symptom of depression since your brain is not working properly like it used to. You might struggle to focus on work, doing chores, or even participating in leisure activities.
  6. Fatigue and loss of energy is also a symptom of depression. This can manifest as feeling sluggish, slow, low energy, feeling sleepy, and feeling weak.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt.  When you have depression you may find it difficult to believe that you are a worthy person and you have value. Unwanted feelings of guilt are also very common when feeling depressed.
  8. Having suicidal ideation or thinking about suicide. This is a very serious symptom of depression and it crucial for you to seek help if you are having this symptom. 
  9. A change in your physical or emotional reactions. This means that you either find yourself agitated, restless, having many anxious thoughts. Or you could be thinking and moving very slowly. 

There are so many ways to help you feel better. If you are having some of these symptoms, don’t suffer in silence. You can heal and treat your depression.

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