In years past, I used to think that was a rather stupid question. "Do I have signs of depression?" For goodness sake, you must know whether you're depressed or not. But it isn't quite as simple as that. After all, you may simply be having a 'down' day.
All right, maybe it does last for a few days, but perhaps you've just lost a loved one, so you're bound to feel miserable. But it isn't just the way you feel. Let's have a closer look at the symptoms of depression. They're common enough emotions and feelings and because of this, there can be a lot of confusion regarding diagnosis. So the question; 'Am I stressed or depressed?' becomes valid.
. Exhaustion On Waking
. Sleep Disrupted
. Unpleasant Dreams
. Waking Early, Can't Sleep Again
. Hobbies Less Interesting
. Difficulty Concentrating
. Energy Improves Throughout The Day
. Anxious, Worrying, Intrusive Thoughts
. Become Emotional For No Reason
. Short Tempered, Irritable
A good example would be someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder, or Manic Depression. They may become anxious and irritable, show a lack of interest in their hobbies and have trouble sleeping. All of these symptoms are the same as depression.
Now, if this person's mis-diagnosed as having depression, when in fact they have bipolar disorder, and they're prescribed anti-depressants in the category of SSRIs, then they could easily flip into mania.
Stress is another condition that on the surface could be mistaken for depression. People suffering from stress find it difficult to concentrate, they can be irritable, have varying degrees of anxiety and become emotional for no reason. Again, all these symptoms fit depression.
One of the main things to remember is that depression isn't just another mental condition mixed in with a whole plethora of other mental illnesses which affect people to a greater of lesser extent.
Clinical depression is the world's number one mental disorder and the second most disabling condition in the world after heart disease. And the problem's growing.
This is one of the reasons why it's so vital to write about it, to bring it out into the open, so that people come to understand exactly what it is... and not to be afraid of coming forward and seeking treatment if they think it's a condition from which they're suffering.
It's necessary, too, to explode all the myths and half-truths that are perpetrated, knowingly or unknowingly, upon the public as a whole.
One quick and singularly alarming example. The FDA has recently approved yet another treatment for depression. It's called 'Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation,' and consists of powerful magnets used to stimulate the parts of the brain that affect mood.
Dear God, dear old Mesmer was playing around with magnets two and a half centuries ago!