Nowadays, Depression may be the most commonly diagnosed mental health condition. It seems that everyone you know is on medication or has been on medication. However, before we continue a discussion on depression let’s define it.

Major Depressive Disorder

The person experiences one or more major depressive episode without a history of manic, hypomanic, or mixed episodes.

It is characterized by a depressed mood and /or loss of interest in nearly all activities,

It lasts at least two weeks, it represents a noticeable change from previous functioning, and includes 5 of the following symptoms with one of them being a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day as reported by the client or observed; in children this can be an irritable mood.
  2. Diminished interest in pleasures in all or nearly all activities.
  3. Significant weight loss or weight gain and increase in or decrease in appetite.
  4. Sleep disturbance.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly daily.
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly daily.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly daily.
  8. Impaired ability to think or concentrate or indecisiveness nearly every day.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death, suicide ideation without a plan, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan to commit suicide.
  10. So what does this mean? One thing is that you can diagnose yourself. If you are suffering from a major depressive episode then it is critical that you receive help immediately.

If you are suffering from depression then you may need to begin taking medication to address the problem. However, depression is not always physiological and most of the time it is more oriented to what is happening in your environment. If so, medication may not be the answer for you. It is a fact that it is most recommended that, if you take medication, you also enter therapy. Medication alone is not the best intervention.

If you don’t meet the criteria for major depression, that does not mean that you don’t need help. Only you can determine that. The main question to ask yourself is, “Do I feel depressed?” If so, we are here to help you return to or reach a higher level of functioning.

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