In this corona era there is the tendency to mistake depression for sadness. Imagine one losing all members of one’s nuclear family. One is likely to go into depression, which could be mistaken for sadness.
Bereavement, mourning, catastrophe, economic recession, financial misfortune and other devastating illnesses ultimately result in sadness and this sadness should never be equated to clinical depression.
Let me sound a note of warning to all of us out there, that depression is a much more serious illness, that if not properly managed and treated could lead to a catatonic death.
While only qualified medical doctors or clinical health providers can diagnose depression, there are certain warning signs that can help you identify whether you or someone you care about is suffering from depression.
Prof Nancy Schimelpfening a Clinical Psychologist writing in VeryWell magazine had this to say about depression. In addition to (8) symptoms listed below, other factors that doctors will look at in diagnosing a person with major depressive disorder include:
• Whether the symptoms have lingered for at least two weeks.
• Whether they have caused the person significant impairment in his or her life and,
• Whether the symptoms might be better explained in some other way-such as substance abuse, medication side effects, a medical illness or another mental disorder.
In order to ascertain whether you have depression as opposed to ordinary sadness, a doctor may ask you questions about your 1) medical history 2) observe your appearance and behaviour and 3) run certain laboratory tests. All these work together to determine the diagnosis and find the best solution for lifting your spirit.
Common (8) Symptoms of Clinical Depression are;
1) Low mood.
A person with a depressive mood, may report feeling “sad” or “empty” or may cry frequently. Having low mood is one of the two core symptoms which is used to diagnose depression.
2) Decreased Interest or Pleasure.
The second core symptom of depression is decreased interest or pleasure in things that were once enjoyed. A person exhibiting this symptom will show markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all daily activities.
3) Significant Weight Change.
Significant changes in weight (a gain or loss of 5% or more in a month) while not attempting to gain or lose weight, may be indicative of depression. In children, this may also present as a failure to make expected weight gains.
4) Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disturbances including difficulty in falling asleep, feeling sleepy despite full night’s rest or daytime sleepiness can indicate depression.
5) Psychomotor Agitation or Retardation
Depression can be the cause of agitation, restlessness or lethargy that affects a person’s daily routine, behaviour or appearance. These symptoms can be evident in body movements, speech and reaction time. Some describe the diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions as “brain fog”.