Are you feeling in a low mood lately and wondering if you have depression?
Firstly, do acknowledge that it is normal that we all feel sad/stressed out when we are facing difficulties in life, such as losing your loved ones, having a hard time at work or breaking up with your long-term partner.
But being sad itself doesn’t mean that we are clinically depressed. There are certain criterias to fulfill in order to be clinically diagnosed with depression.
Depression, is often formally referred as “Major Depression” or other related “depressive disorders”.
Symptoms of Depression
Based on DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), you have to experience five or more of the below symptoms for at least two weeks:
- Persistent sadness, feelings of emptiness or hopelessness for most of the day (in the case of children, this can be irritable mood)
- Loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities
- Significant weight loss or gain; significant decrease/increase in appetite
- Loss of sleep, or conversely, sleeping too much
- Feeling restless, agitated; or conversely, feeling like you are “slowed down”
- Feeling tired, fatigued, and low energy
- Feeling worthless, guilty
- Unable to concentrate or think, feeling indecisive
- Thinking about death frequently, or thinking of suicide (either of attempting it or without attempting it)
*** and these symptoms must significantly impair your daily functioning (social relationships, at work etc.) in order for you to be diagnosed with major depression. It is recommended that you seek professional advice if that is the case.
Treatment for Depression
Depending on the severity of your condition, quite often treatments include medication or psychotherapy or combined. Based on current research, the addition of psychotherapy can significantly increase the effectiveness of medication. Psychotherapy (or Talk Therapy), is a way to help those who are currently facing difficulties in emotions, stress, relationships, or mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. It is a process of helping clients to understand how their thoughts and feelings influence their behaviours and relationship with others. With psychotherapy, clients would be able to better understand themselves and lead a valuable and satisfying life.