How Do You Know If You Have Depression?

mental illness

More than being sad for a while, depression can have an impact on your ability to live your life every day. The week of October 3-9 has been designated as Mental Illness Awareness Week. A mental health screening is a positive first step toward awareness, to help you know if you have depression.

National Depression Screening Day

October 7 is National Depression Screening Day. While a screening is not a diagnosis, it can alert you to certain symptoms that may mean you need to seek treatment for your mental health concern. Screenings are available that are free, confidential, and anonymous. Only you will see the results, which can lead to a greater awareness when you want to know if you have depression.

Depression Is Not a Normal Part of Life

When you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, it could mean that you have a serious medical illness. Many people dismiss their depression as just a normal part of life, but it is much more than that. In fact, clinical depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Depression does not discriminate, as it affects people of all genders, races, and socioeconomic groups. However, only about 35% of people suffering from severe depression will seek treatment.

Knowing If You Have Depression

Have you been feeling sad or fatigued? Are you having more difficulty focusing or have you lost interest in certain activities you used to enjoy? These could be signs of a depressive disorder.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
  • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
  • Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
  • Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself.

Differences in Sadness and Depression

People often refer to being sad as being depressed but there are differences. While feeling sad is one of the symptoms of depression, the mental health condition involves much more. The mental illness can make you feel exhausted all of the time. More devastating than a bout of sadness, depression can bring about thoughts of or attempts at suicide.

Sadness is usually temporary. You may have experienced a problem in your relationship, lost your job, or had a loved one pass away. Your sadness is a natural reaction to these events, even when it seems that your sadness is extreme.

Depression symptoms last at least two weeks at a time and often longer. They can be triggered by an event or they can seemingly come out of nowhere, for no apparent reason. The sadness you felt by a loss can turn into depression. If your feelings don’t get better or if you are having trouble functioning on a daily basis, you may have depression. A screening can help you better identify whether your symptoms are depression.

Substance Use and Depression

If you have depression, it can be made worse with the use of drugs or alcohol. Many people turn to these substances in an attempt to manage their symptoms. However, alcohol, especially, is a depressant and can cause you to feel even more sad and helpless.

Likewise, if you have depression it can cause you to misuse drugs or alcohol and develop an addiction to the substances. When the two conditions, mental illness and substance abuse, occur together, you will have what is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Treatment for both is necessary to help you move forward with a healthier life, both mentally and physically.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment at HVRC

Understanding and recognizing the signs of depression can mean the difference in your mental and physical health. If the illness has led to a substance use disorder, it is especially important to get the right treatment for both issues. The professional team at Hemet Valley Recovery Center focuses on your needs as you face unique psychological, medical, and social challenges in your life.

Please contact HVRC for help beginning a journey of recovery. We invite you to take the first step toward healing with our dedicated team of professionals.