Most people are aware of how depression feels like. Usually, when you feel depressed you feel down, empty, fatigued,and disinterested in activities that used to be pleasurable to you. For some people, they can easily identify the cause that leads them to feel this way. It can be an abusive boss, a dysfunctional relationship, the loss of significant loved one, among others. When you know the cause of your depression, finding someone with whom you can confide your problem can alleviate the burden.
However, there are others who seemed to be living a good life and no matter how they try to understand themselves, they couldn’t identify the triggers of their depressive symptoms. This can be an added source of worry to them.
But regardless if you’re aware or unaware of the cause, experiencing the signs of depression that are beyond your present coping ability can help you realize that it’s time to seek professional help. Below is the criteria of the major depressive disorder that you need to watch out, whether it’s for you or for your loved one. I lifted this from the Diagnostics Statistical Manual 5 (DSM 5), a manual used by mental health professionals.
(As a side note, you need not wait for your depression to reach the clinical level for you to reach out for assistance.)
A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-weekperiod and represent a change from previous functioning: at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition.
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation).
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
(Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)
- Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delu sional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (ei ther by subjective account or as observed by others).
- Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
B. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.
Note: Criteria A-C represent a major depressive episode.
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