Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Depression: Checklist of Symptoms for Adults and Children

Are you feeling low? Have you lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy? You
may be suffering from depression. And you're not alone. Between 9 and 14 million
Americans suffer from some form of depressive illness. One in four women and one
in 10 men can expect to develop depression in their lifetimes. Children, too, are
affected by depression. Approximately one in 33 children and one in eight
adolescents exhibit signs of depression, yet, less than one third of these children
ever receive treatment.

So what are the signs of depression? Symptoms differ for adults and children.
Following are some simple checklists that can help you determine if you or your
child might be at risk for depression. When reviewing the checklists, consider the
following: How long have the symptoms been present? How severe are the
symptoms? Are the symptoms getting worse over time? Do you feel unable to cope
with yourself or with you child's symptoms? In general, if symptoms last more than
two weeks without letting up, you or your child may be experiencing clinical
depression rather than just the blues. In children, excessive or chronic moodiness,
withdrawal from normal activities or aggressive behaviors should be considered
warning signs. Of course, teens are often moody and irritable, but if these
symptoms are chronic and unrelenting, there may be more to it than the normal
teenage angst. A good guideline is: symptoms should be checked out by a
professional if they cause disruption in normal daily activities. When in doubt,
always consult a mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker (LISW,
clinical counselor (LPCC), psychologist or psychiatrist.

Recent studies have shown that there is no one medication that is consistently
superior to another in treating depression, and medication alone has about the
same success rate (approximately 50%) as psychotherapy alone. However, both
together have about an 80% success rate. For people with chronic depression, who
choose not to continue medication over a long period (more than one year),
cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to reduce relapse rates from about
80% (with no treatment) to 25%.

Depression Symptom Checklist: Adults

o. Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood

o Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities, including sex

o Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"

o Sleep problems (insomnia, oversleeping, early-morning waking)

o Eating problems (loss of appetite or weight, weight gain)

o Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

o Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

o Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

o Thoughts of death or suicide; a suicide attempt *

o Irritability

o Excessive crying

o Recurring aches and pains that don't respond to treatment

Depression Symptom Checklist: Child/Adolescent

o Persistent sadness

o Withdrawal from family, friends and activities that were once enjoyed

o Increased irritability or agitation

o Changes in eating and sleeping habits (e.g., significant weight loss, insomnia,
excessive sleep)

o Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches and stomachaches

o Lack of enthusiasm or motivation

o Decreased energy level and chronic fatigue

o Play that involves excessive aggression toward self or others, or that involves
persistently sad themes

o Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness

o Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

o Recurring thoughts of death or suicide *

(Source: National Mental Health Association)

* Immediately seek help with a mental health professional, crisis center, or doctor if
suicidal symptoms are present.

No comments:

Post a Comment