how can i tell if someone is depressed

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How To Spot Someone Suffering From Depression

If you think that you or a loved one could be suffering from depression, then it’s important to know what the warning signs are as it’s often a mental illness that’s confused with other medical conditions. Depression is completely different than feeling sad or unhappy. The US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that when someone has this mental illness, “it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. The good news is that depression can be treated and the best way to do this is to seek professional medical help. For access to this, feel free to give us a call and we’ll gladly assist you with this. In this article, we’re going to tell you how to spot someone suffering from depression.

The Signs and Symptoms of Depression

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), is a publication compiled by the American Psychiatric Association is a globally accepted standard criteria of mental disorders.
Here is the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria of depression:

  1. “Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least 2 weeks and at least five of the following symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day
  2.  Depressed mood most of the day.
  3. Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities.
  4.  Significant unintentional weight loss or gain.
  5. Insomnia or sleeping too much.
  6. Agitation or psychomotor retardation noticed by others.
  7. Fatigue or loss of energy.
  8. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.
  9. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness.
  10. Recurrent thoughts of death.”

If you can link 5 of the above signs and symptoms to yourself or a loved one, then it’s a clear sign that there could be a depression problem present. The sooner depression treatment is received, the better, as it’s a mental illness that will only get worse over time. Seeing a medical practitioner, like a mental health professional is the best route to go, but getting the right treatment is extremely important. A mental health professional will often assess what depression treatment is best suited to the patient. It will usually be done by asking the following questions:

•    When did the symptoms start?
•    How long has the symptoms lasted?
•    How severe are the symptoms?
•    Have these symptoms happened before? If so, how were they treated?
•    Does the individual use drugs or alcohol?
•    Has the person thought about committing suicide?

Once this has been documented, it will give the mental health professional a good idea on how severe the symptoms are, and also, what type of treatment is best suited to the individual. Two of the most common forms of depression treatment are psychotherapy and by using anti-depressant medication. Psychotherapy is the treatment of a mental illness without using medication. However, for those with more severe symptoms, psychotherapy may not be enough and anti-depressant medicines are usually used in conjunction with this treatment. Anti-depressant medication will usually be taken for 4-6 weeks and dosage should be closely monitored by a medical doctor, as it side-effects can be severe if taken incorrectly or stopped without consultation. In some cases, the medication may not work initially, but this is not a bad thing. In fact, NIMH states that “research has shown that people who did not get well after taking a first medication increased their chances of beating the depression after they switched to a different medication or added another medication to their existing one.”

Depression Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, we want to help you overcome it. We provide access into the best depression clinics in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Thailand. Call us now and let one of our qualified counsellors find the best treatment for you.

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