Monday, June 4, 2007

Am I Depressed?

Faye B. Roberts

Do you think you may be suffering from clinical depression? Have you ever asked yourself "Am I depressed"? Take this simple screening test. It cannot replace an evaluation by a professional, but it will make you familiar with depression symptoms and give you a general idea whether or not you meet the criteria for clinical depression. Answer the questions as honestly as possible:

Q: Do you frequently feel sad or irritable?
Q: Have you lost interest in activities that you once enjoyed?
Q: Have you experienced notable changes in your weight or your appetite?
Q: Have you experienced changes in your sleep patterns?
Q: Do you suffer with feelings of guilt?
Q: Do you find yourself unable to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions
Q: Have you recently experienced fatigue or loss of energy?
Q: Have other people noticed you seem restless or have decreased activity levels?
Q: Do you have feelings of hopelessness, or worthlessness?
Q: Do you think of suicide or death?

If you answered more than 5 questions with a "Yes", the National Mental Health Association suggests that you may be suffering from clinical depression. Keep in mind this test cannot substitute for a visit to a mental health professional. It is only meant to give you an idea where to start a dialogue with your healthcare provider. Self diagnosis is not an option with depression since it is a serious illness. It will only give you a partial answer to the question, "Am I depressed"?

There are a variety of reasons that you may have answered "Yes" to any of the previous questions that are not necessarily an indicator of depression. For example, if you are recently bereaved the questionnaire may be slanted because of your recent experiences. Bereavement is not necessarily a form of depression. It is a general feeling of loss that may make you think you are depressed. Each situation should be considered individually. As in any circumstances, discussions with your health care provider is your first step towards healing.

Depression can make you feel hopeless and helpless. But just taking the first step — deciding to get treatment — can make all the difference. The good news is that there are many forms of effective treatments that can help you cope with depression. These include drugs, psychotherapy or counseling. Sometimes a combination of treatments works best. Your response to the treatment methods are determined by too many factors to list here, but when you find the right one it can be very effective. Your physician can help you determine the method that will work best for you and your first step should be to consult him or her.
I hope this helps you answer the question, "Am I depressed"?

Faye B. Roberts is an independent researcher and author on depression and is assisting others in their quest to understand this serious illness. Discover a new way of thinking and coping with depression that will change the way you look, feel and live your life. Visit Facts On Depression

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