“Depression is the common cold of mental illness,” my colleague used to say. Who hasn’t had a “common” cold, and countless times? We all have. A sad, dejected mood, especially if it persists, can indicate more serious problems than an emotional “Ha-choo!” now and then.
Because depression is so widespread a mental heath experience for some and a concern for others, the signs of potential depression need to be widely known. You may find them listed at http://www.healthcommunities.com/healthy-living-guides/index.shtml/9-signs-you-might-be-depressed_13. To save you time, I list the nine symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder:
1. Do I feel extremely sad most of the time, nearly every day during at least a 2 week period? A depressed mood may be observed by others or expressed by the individual. In children and teens, depression also may present as an irritability.
2. Do I have strong feelings of apathy or an inability to experience pleasure in most previously-enjoyed activities? That, along with a depressed or irritable mood, can indicate depression. In a person who is depressed, these feelings are present most days during at least a two-week period.
3. Have I unintentionally gained or lost significant weight (more than 5 percent of body weight in a month)? Has your appetite decreased or increased nearly every day? Depressed children may fail to make expected growth-related weight gains.
4. Do I have difficulty falling asleep or may wake frequently during the night. Excessive sleepiness nearly every day for at least 2 weeks also may be a sign of depression.
More in next week’s blog.