Depression is among the most common mental health issues. It can be difficult to diagnose and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. But, there are ways to test for depression symptoms and begin the process of diagnosis. In this article, we will first talk about signs and symptoms of depression, then we’ll explore how you can test for depression and what options you may have if you suspect that you or someone close to you has depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that can cause a person to feel overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. It is estimated that around 20 million adults in the United States suffer from depression each year. For those who live with depression, it can feel like an unbearable burden, but there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and lead to a happier, healthier life. Let’s take a look at some of the signs and causes of depression. Depression can cause mental and physical symptoms such as:
- Lack of energy
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low self-esteem
- Recurring headaches
What Causes Depression?
Depression can be caused by biological factors such as genetics and hormones. For example, if you have a family history of depression, your chances of developing it are higher than those without such a history. In addition, hormone imbalances in the brain can also cause depression. This is why women are more likely to be affected by depression – they experience more fluctuations in their hormones due to menstruation and pregnancy, making them more vulnerable to developing the disorder.
The good news is that depression can be managed with the right treatment plan. Let’s take a closer look at what causes depression.
Depression can have many causes including biological factors, such as genetics and hormones, environmental factors like stress or trauma, psychological factors, and social factors i.e. lack of support. Significant changes in your life, such as bereavement, having a baby, debt, or losing your job can cause symptoms of depression. It’s also possible to have symptoms of depression without reason. It is important to talk to your doctor or mental health professional if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, so they can help you determine the possible cause(s) of your depression.
The Different Types of Depression
It’s estimated that mild depression accounts for 70% of depression cases and moderate and severe depression accounts for 30%. The different types of depression are not always easy to recognise because they can present differently from person to person; however understanding the various types can provide insight into why someone may be feeling down or struggling with their mental health more generally. If you think you might have one form of depression or another it’s important to speak to your doctor or mental health care provider right away to begin effective treatment and combat depression. But what types of depression are there.
Let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of depression:
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Depression that manifests at a particular time of year, or during a particular season.
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)- Depression that is characterised as extreme sadness and lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Lasts for weeks or months if left untreated.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) – Formerly known as Dysthymia, mild depression that persists for at least two years or more. Also known as chronic depression or persistent depressive disorder.
- Prenatal depression – Depression that occurs during pregnancy. It can also be referred to as antenatal depression.
- Postnatal depression (PND) – Depression that develops within the first year of giving birth is known as PND.
Test for Depression
In any given week, 3 in 100 people are typically diagnosed with Depression in England. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and can lead to self harm and suicide. Identifying depression symptoms early on can make it easier for people struggling with this condition to get the help they need before their symptoms worsen over time. There are now several reliable assessment tools available today that make it easy to identify possible warning signs of depression and test for this condition.
There are many online tests you can do to see your likelihood of having depression. Please note that this test for depression must be used as a guideline for use to speak to your doctor. These types of tests are designed to help people determine if they are experiencing any of the warning signs of depression. They typically include questions about how often people have been feeling down or hopeless, how much energy they have had lately, and whether they have been having difficulty sleeping. The results of these tests will provide an indication of whether someone may be suffering from depression or not.
You can take the NHS test for depression here.
When Should I Speak with a Doctor?
If you suspect you may have depression, speak to your general practitioner about your symptoms and what’s going on in your life. They will be able to look at your medical records and use their insight to determine the cause of your symptoms.
If you think you may be suffering from depression or know someone who might be experiencing these symptoms, don’t hesitate to utilise the assessment tool right away so you can get started on your road to recovery sooner rather than later!
This article is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Speak to a doctor if you have any questions about a medical condition without any delay.