identifying depression

Mental health awareness is on the rise and depression has become a common keyword in modern times. What was once referenced as ‘melancholia ‘or ‘black bile’ to the ancient Greek physicians, is now commonly known as Major Depression. We’ve come a long way!

Depression is Common

Major depressive episodes are one of the most common mental disorders being diagnosed in the United States today. In fact, in 2016 the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 16.2 million adults in the United States have been impacted by a major depressive episode.

identifying depression

As a clinician, depression is the most common presenting problem I’m faced with. It is, however, important to differentiate normal sadness from a major depressive episode. I believe knowledge is power! Major depression involves severe impairments that can interfere with one’s daily functioning and relationships. “Normal” sadness due to changes in one’s life can be expected (losses, major life changes, etc.) when distressing events occur.

What Does Clinical Depression Look Like?

So what does a major depressive episode look like? Let’s take a look!

It’s a period of two weeks or longer that includes many of the following symptoms:

  • Down or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Hypersomnia (over-sleeping) or insomnia (lack of sleep)
  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Lack of energy (not completing tasks at home/work/school)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Isolation from others
  • Irritability
  • Unable to make decisions
  • Turning to drugs or alcohol
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of excessive guilt
  • Negative thoughts of self (i.e. “I’m a failure,” “Nothing good ever happens to me.”)
  • Thoughts of suicide

Getting the Help You Need

I believe it’s important to know that experiencing some of these symptoms may be normal from time-to-time. My goal, and the goal of other clinicians, is not to pathologize our clients, but to help them sort out what’s going on. Seeking out a professional opinion is essential in determining your current mental state.

Remember – asking for help is a strength, not a weakness!

Reach out to Marinna at All Encompassing Counseling here.