Depression Symptoms

How can I tell if I am depressed?

A Major Depressive Episode is identified by 5 or more of these symptoms:

  1. Depressed mood or irritable most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful).
  2. Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities, most of each day
  3. Significant weight change (5%) or change in appetite (over the time the depression symptoms have been present).
  4. Change in sleep: Insomnia or hypersomnia (difficulty sleeping either staying asleep or over sleeping).
  5. Change in activity: Psychomotor agitation or retardation  (like nervous twitch, like twisting hair, shaking foot, or your body feels like lead and can’t move).
  6.  Fatigue or loss of energy.
  7. Guilt/worthlessness: Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
  8. Concentration: diminished ability to think or concentrate, or more indecisiveness.
  9. Suicidal: Thoughts of death or suicide, or has suicide plan.

(the above criteria from the DSM-V)

My symptoms came on quickly. I thought depression was gradual. Am I depressed?

Depression can come on gradually over time, and it can come on rapidly over the course of one day depending on the situation. Sometimes the tendency towards depression is inherited being more biological than caused by an experience. Depression can also be triggered by certain medical conditions. Regardless of the origin, what you should do is all the same.  Don’t wonder; reach out.