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December 21, 2021

Do I Have Depression?

do i have depression

Depression, do I have it?

It’s normal to feel down from time to time, but when dealing with depression, you should be treated with care. Aside from causing a general feeling of sadness, depression is known for feelings of hopelessness that don’t seem to go away.

How depression is classified

The term “depression” has become a familiar and popular subject in our society. However, there are varying classifications in the mainstream society of depression, and each can affect your life in different ways.

 Depression may be classified as:

  • mild
  • moderate
  • severe also called “major.”

 Each classification is based on many factors. These include the types of symptoms you experience, their severity, and how often they occur. 

 What is mild depression?

Mild depression involves more than just feeling blue temporarily. Your symptoms can go on for days and are noticeable enough to interfere with your usual activities.

Mild depression may cause:

  • irritability or anger
  • hopelessness
  • feelings of guilt and despair
  • self-loathing
  • a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • difficulties concentrating at work
  • a lack of motivation
  • a sudden disinterest in socializing
  • aches and pains with seemingly no direct cause
  • daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • insomnia
  • appetite changes
  • weight changes
  • reckless behaviour, such as abuse of alcohol and drugs or gambling

 If your symptoms persist for most of the day, on an average of four days a week for two years, you would most likely be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder. 

 Though mild depression is noticeable, it’s the most difficult to diagnose. As a result, it’s easy to dismiss the symptoms and avoid discussing them with your doctor. However, despite the challenges in diagnosis, mild depression is the easiest to treat. Specific lifestyle changes can go a long way in boosting serotonin levels in the brain, which can help fight depressive symptoms.

Beneficial lifestyle changes include:

  • exercising daily
  • adhering to a sleep schedule
  • eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • practicing yoga or meditation
  • doing activities that reduce stress, such as journaling, reading, hobbies or listening to music
  • talking to friends, or meeting up with them

 Antidepressants may be introduced. However, these tend to be more effective in people with more severe forms of depression. In addition, recurrent depression tends to respond better to lifestyle changes and talk therapy, such as psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, than medication.  While medical treatment may not be needed, mild depression won’t go away independently and can lead to more severe forms.

 What is moderate depression?

In terms of symptoms, moderate depression and mild depression share similar symptoms. However, the most significant difference is that moderate depression is evident enough to cause problems at work and home.

Moderate depression may cause:

  • problems with self-esteem
  • reduced productivity
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • increased sensitivities
  • excessive worrying

You may also find significant difficulties in your social life.

 Moderate depression is more straightforward to diagnose than mild cases because the symptoms significantly impact your daily life. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing to get help and direction. They may prescribe anti-depressive medications that can take up to six weeks to take full effect. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also effective and used in some cases of moderate depression.

What is severe (major) depression?

Severe (major) depression is classified as having mild to moderate depression symptoms, but the signs are severe and noticeable, even to your loved ones.

Sometimes severe depression will go away after a while, but it can also be recurrent for some people. Therefore, diagnosis is especially crucial in severe depression, and it may even be time-sensitive.

 Significant forms of depression may also cause:

  • delusions
  • feelings of stupor
  • hallucinations
  • suicidal thoughts or behaviours

 Severe depression requires medical treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely recommend an antidepressant and some form of talk therapy. Likewise, if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviours, you should seek immediate medical attention. 

 What you can do now

To treat depression effectively, it’s essential that you reach out to your doctor for a diagnosis in mild to moderate depression cases, as the symptoms may not be noticeable to others. Then, they will work with you to determine suitable treatment measures. Treatment may include antidepressants, herbal remedies, CBT, or lifestyle adjustments. Though it may take time for treatment to make a noticeable difference, reaching out to your doctor is the first step toward feeling better.

 Online therapy can help with depression

Improve your quality of life with the support of a CBT therapist. Speak to a therapist during a phone or video session and stay connected throughout your treatment. Talk therapy has been know to be highly beneficial. If interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

 Lynda Fraser 
CBT Practitioner