Am I an Depressed?

Look behind the media posts on Miami Beach and you will find many people struggling with depression. As reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 16,100,000 American adults are affected by depression in a given year. This represents more than 1 in 20 adults. Chances are high that you know someone that will suffer from depression this year. Depression is the leading disability for people between 15 to 44 years old. Unfortunately, the average person has an inaccurate and skewed idea of what depression is and what a depressed person looks like.

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious mood disorder. It is a mental illness. However, if you are suffering from depression that does not mean you will always be depressed. It doesn’t even mean you are currently clinically depressed. Clinical depression is like a threshold that clients can cross back and forth.

In mental health treatment, helping professionals use the standards in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose their clients. Only a professional can make a diagnosis. Even if you are Sigmund Freud reading this from beyond the grave, no one should diagnose himself or herself. With that said, there are some interesting insights the diagnosis can give. To be diagnosed with depression, a person must:

    A. Meet 5 or more of the following 8 criteria over the same 2 week period. B. One of these 5 criteria also must be either of the first two. C. The symptoms must also interfere with their ability to function D. The symptoms cannot be caused by a medical condition or substance abuse

Symptoms of Depression

    1. Feeling depressed all day 2. Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities daily. 3. Notable weight loss when not dieting or weight gain 4. Decrease or increase in appetite. 5. Slower thought processes and a decrease of physical activity 6. Tiredness or lethargic feeling nearly every day. 7. Feeling useless or guilt almost every day. 8. Reduced capability to think or concentrate, being indecisive 9. Repeated thoughts of death, repeated suicidal thoughts without a specific plan, attempting suicide or a plan for committing suicide.

Lessons About Depression

Everyone experiences sadness and depression at some point. For an individual to be clinically depressed, they must be experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks. Their depression must be causing dysfunction in their social life, job, or other areas of their life. They must either have a constant depressed mood or be experiencing anhedonia (a lack of pleasure in things they used to find pleasure). Lastly, the client’s depression cannot be caused by substance abuse or a medical condition. Being an addiction treatment center, our clients must experience sobriety before a diagnosis of depression can be made. For many clients, once they are sober and no longer struggling with withdrawal, their depression goes away. Depression Definition and DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria.