How to Know If You Have DepressionPat Fontana
Moments of sadness happen in everyone’s life. When you lose a job or lose a loved one, you will naturally feel sad for a while. When your symptoms continue for several weeks or months, you may have a mental health condition known as depression. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms to know if you have depression, so you can get the treatment you need.
National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month
October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. While a screening is not a diagnosis, taking advantage of a free online screening can help you better understand if you have depression symptoms. Your healthcare professional can then guide you through what you need to know to get the help you need so you can feel better.
Why It’s Important to Know
Your mental health can also affect your physical health and other aspects of your life. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has shared some important statistics that show the ripple effect of mental illness:
- Over 18% of adults in the US who have a mental health issue also experience a substance use disorder.
- Individuals who have depression have a 40% higher risk of developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases than the general population.
- Students in high school who have significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out of school than their peers.
- Students who are between the ages of 6 and 17, who have mental, emotional, or behavioral concerns are three times more likely to have to repeat a grade in school.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
While sadness is temporary, the symptoms of depression can affect you every day, sometimes all day, for at least two weeks. If you have depression, you may be experiencing:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- A persistent sad or “empty” mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed
- Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- Decreased energy, with a feeling of fatigue
- Feelings of guilt
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, including waking up too early or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Aches or pains, including headaches or stomach problems without a clear physical cause
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
While not everyone who has depression experiences every symptom, if you have several persistent symptoms in addition to a low mood, you may be diagnosed with depression.
Depression and Anxiety Are Not the Same
If you have depression, you may also experience symptoms that are similar to those of an anxiety disorder, but depression and anxiety are different. Each condition has its own causes and symptoms of emotion and behavior. Many individuals with depression have a history of an anxiety disorder, but there is no evidence that one causes the other. Many people do suffer from both depression and anxiety, experiencing symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, and problems with concentration or sleep.
Causes of Depression
Common causes of depression include a family history, early childhood trauma, your brain structure, medical conditions such as chronic illness or chronic pain, and substance use. In fact, about 21% of individuals with a substance use issue also experience depression.
Additional risk factors for depression include low self-esteem, being excessively self-critical, a history of mental illness, taking certain prescribed medications, and stressful events such as a divorce, loss of a loved one, or financial stresses.
Treatment for Depression is Critical
For your mental and physical health, it is critical that you seek professional treatment for your depression. You cannot ignore the symptoms, as depression is a serious mental health condition that has the potential to cause complications in your life. Without appropriate treatment, you could experience physical pain, panic attacks, problems in your relationships, social isolation, weight gain or loss, and substance use problems. You could also be at risk of self-harm or thoughts or attempts at suicide.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we support you and your mental health needs, helping you find the path that works best for you. To keep you safe and healthy, we offer in-office and online therapy options during COVID-19. We encourage you to contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to find out the services R&A Therapeutic Partners offers. Call us at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.