How can I tell if I have Depression?

Some things to look for if you think you may have depression are:

• Changes in your mood: small things bother you, you feel sad all the time or you take less pleasure in things you once enjoyed (such as hobbies, family activities, etc.). Sometimes depression is experienced as intense irritability.

• Changes in your physical well-being: increase or decrease in appetite and weight, changes in sleeping patterns (trouble sleeping or waking up, excessive daytime sleepiness, or frequent awakenings at night), low energy levels, lack of motivation, headaches, or general aches and pains.

• Changes in your thought patterns: negative thoughts, trouble concentrating or paying attention, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, guilt or pessimism. Often a person with depression will suffer from low self-esteem or low self-confidence.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, take the following self-test. If you answer "Yes" to five or more of the questions, show the result to your doctor, you may have depression. Remember only your doctor can determine if you have depression.

A self-test for Depression

Check yes if the symptoms you have had nearly every day for the past 2 weeks.

Have you been feeling sad, depressed or down most of the rime? Yes No

Have you been less interested and less able enjoy the things that once gave you pleasure? Yes No

Have you felt tired or without energy most of the time? Yes No

Have you had trouble sleeping or do you sleep too much? Yes No

Have you found it difficult to concentrate or make decisions? Yes No

Have you had an increase or decrease in appetite or weight? Yes No

Have you had feelings of worthlessness or guilt? Yes No

Have you felt frightened or panicky for no apparent reason at all? Yes No

Have you felt restless and found it difficult to sit still? Yes No

Have you been feeling anxious or worried? Yes No

Have you felt like you just cannot go on, or had thoughts of death or dying? Yes No

Again, if you checked off five or more of the symptoms you may have depression. If you have had recurring thoughts of death or suicide, contact your doctor regardless of how you have answered the other questions.