Am I Depressed? Depression Self-Test

It can be hard to distinguish sadness from depression as its one of the primary symptoms.  However, depression is more than just feeling down.  It’s a combination of factors that are related to negative thoughts, physical symptoms, and an individual ability to function in life. Take our quiz to find out if your sadness is more than just that. 

Table of Contents

Did you know that depression is the leading cause of disability globally? Depression can have a major impact on your life, however, if treated the symptoms are manageable.

Have you found yourself wondering, “Am I depressed?” Or are you wondering if someone you love may have depression?

Keep reading to learn more about depression and take our depression self-test below.

Take the Depression Self-Test

Depression can be difficult, however, with treatment, you can get better. Are you ready to find out if you should talk to your doctor? Take our depression self-test today.

Once you take our depression test, if signs point to yes, Southern California Sunrise is here to help. Contact us today for information about assessment and treatment.

Over the past two weeks, how often have you experienced the following symptoms?

Little interest or pleasure in doing things

This test is not a diagnostic tool, nor is it intended to replace a proper diagnosis. Use it only for informational purposes. Mental health conditions should only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional or doctor. Regardless of your results from our assessment, you should speak to a doctor about your mental health.

What is Depression?

Everyone feels a little blue at times, however, clinical depression vs feeling depressed is different. Depression affects how you think, feel, and act.

Two defining components of depression are loss of interest in activities you enjoyed in the past and feelings of sadness. To receive a diagnosis of depression, you must meet the DSM Criteria and be experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks.

Depression can impact your ability to function in multiple settings including work, social, and home.

The Prevalence of Depression

When you are struggling with depression it can often feel like you are alone, however, depression is actually very common. Worldwide, more than 264 million people of varying ages have depression.

Women are two times as likely to receive a diagnosis of depression than men. In America, 7.1% of the adult population has experienced at least one major depressive disorder.

In addition, depressive episodes are more common among individuals who identify as of more than one race. In addition, keep in mind that mental health is still very stigmatized, which can impact the numbers.

As COVID has raged and the lockdown has prevailed, depression numbers have continued to rise. Unfortunately, COVID has also made it difficult for those who need mental health treatment to get it.

Large-scale pandemics can increase the prevalence of mental health. True to form from August of 2020 to February of 2021, significant increases occurred in both depressive symptoms and a lack of treatment.

Depression vs Grief

If you have lost someone you love, it is normal to feel depressed. However, is there a point where grief becomes depression?

Often the difficult part of this is that grief and depression have many symptoms in common; this is where it gets murky. Yet, there is one major difference.

As time passes, grief tends to get better. It can continue to occur at times when you get reminded of the reason. However, you can also feel better when people are around to support you.

With depression, it is pervasive and persistent. The only exception to this is atypical depression. In atypical depression, when positive events occur, you can at times feel better.

Depression Risk Factors and Causes

Are you wondering if you are at risk for depression? There are many risk factors for depression. Some of the risk factors lend themselves towards certain types of depression, such as situational depression.

Genetics

If your family has a history of depression, you may be at higher risk for depression. There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding depression and genetics.

Conflict and Life Events

If you are having conflict with friends or family, this can lead to depression. In addition, other life events such as death or loss, abuse, loss of a job, divorce, and more can trigger depression.

Other Illnesses

Sometimes another illness can trigger depression. Examples of this would be anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, chronic pain, and more.
In addition, the diagnosis of or dealing with a major illness can trigger depression. An example of this would be patients with cancer. Around 15 to 25 percent of patients with cancer are affected by depression.

Medications

When you get a new medication, be sure to read the label carefully. At times your medication can cause depression. If this is the case, you can discuss with your doctor switching to a different medication.

Substance Abuse

With substance abuse, depression can go two ways. Sometimes individuals begin using substances because of depression, as a way to cope. However, at other times, depression can develop because of the use of substances.

Gender

As mentioned above, women are twice as likely to get diagnosed with depression. The reason for this is not completely known. However, there is a belief that part of this has to do with the hormonal changes women go through.

Isolation

Isolation is another risk factor and cause for depression. Over the course of the pandemic, the prevalence of depression has increased. This can largely get attributed to isolation.

Symptoms and Types of Depression

There are 9 types of depression. Each type of depression has its own unique features, even though there may be common threads throughout each type. The symptoms of depression will vary slightly depending on the type of depression.

#1: Major Depression

Major depression is fairly common. Around 16.2 million American adults have at some point in their life experienced one major depressive episode.

This type of depression also gets called a major depressive disorder. With this type of depression symptoms are experienced every day and for most of the day. The symptoms will last for weeks and sometimes months.

This type of depression can get experienced once or episodically throughout life.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

The symptoms of major depressive disorder can include:

#2: Persistent Depressive Disorder

This type of depression, like its name, lasts for a long time. To obtain a diagnosis of persistent depression, your depression must go on for at least two years. Other names for this type of depression are chronic depression or dysthymia. While this type of depression is long-term, your symptoms can vary in intensity. Recall that this type of depression must be present for two years or more.  Some of the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder include:

#3: Bipolar

This type of depression also gets called manic depression. However, keep in mind that manic depression is an outdated name.

With Bipolar Disorder you experience manic periods that alternate with depressive episodes. Bipolar disorder has several different types.

The symptoms of bipolar are going to fall into a couple of categories. Symptoms during a depressive episode will be the same symptoms you see with major depressive disorder.

This means feelings of sadness, a lack of energy, trouble concentrating, etc. However, there will be different symptoms during the manic phase of Bipolar disorder. Symptoms during a manic phase can include:

#4: Depressive Psychosis

Depressive psychosis can be a part of major depression. If you receive a diagnosis of major depressive disorder with psychotic features, this is what it is referring to.

With this type of depression, you lose touch with reality for periods of time. This can involve hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations will cause you to feel, taste, smell, hear or see things that are not really there.

While delusions will cause you to believe things that are obviously untrue or don’t make sense. Physical symptoms can also be present in individuals with depression with psychosis. These physical symptoms include slowed movements or struggling to sit still.

#5: Perinatal Depression

This terminology is a little different than what has commonly become known as postpartum depression. While postpartum depression looks at depression that occurs after giving birth, perinatal depression covers the space of time during pregnancy and after.

This type of depression is going to occur within four weeks of giving birth or during pregnancy. Perinatal depression is attributed to the hormonal changes that occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy and childbirth.

On top of that, a lack of sleep and physical discomfort can also contribute to the development of this type of depression. If you are a woman that has had depression before, you are more likely to experience perinatal depression.
In addition, women who lack support are more likely to develop it. However, it can happen to anyone.

The symptoms that are experienced with perinatal depression can be severe and similar to those experienced in individuals with major depression. Symptoms may include:

#6: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

As if that time of the month doesn’t bring enough joy, it can also cause depression. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD is like PMS on steroids.

Essentially, PMDD is a severe form of PMS, however, the symptoms are mostly psychological while PMS comes with physical symptoms as well. Feeling emotional as your period approaches is part of PMS. With PMDD feelings of sadness and depression will get in the way of daily functioning.

The trigger of this type of depression is believed to be hormonal. This is similar to perinatal depression in that way.

Typically, the symptoms start after ovulation and get better when your period starts. At times, women will dismiss this as a bad case of PMS. However, PMDD can be severe and include suicidal ideation.

Symptoms of PMDD can be physical or psychological. However, usually, the psychological symptoms are the most prevalent. Some of the physical symptoms can include:

#7: Seasonal Depression

As the days get darker and winter approaches, the onset of seasonal depression starts. This is a major depressive disorder that has a seasonal pattern.

While it does not necessarily need to be associated with the winter, that is when most people experience it. This type of depression is also called, seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

This type of depression tends to get better in the spring. It is believed that in the spring, because of an increase in natural light, changes to your bodily rhythms help this type of depression improve.

However, throughout the season this type of depression can worsen and even lead to thoughts of suicide.

With this type of depression, your symptoms will usually start in the fall when the days are getting shorter. Symptoms will persist through the winter.

#8: Situational Depression

This type of depression is known clinically as adjustment disorder with depressed mood. It looks very similar to major depressive disorder. However, the trigger is situational.

This means it is brought on by something specific. This can include someone you love dying, a divorce, being in an abusive relationship, financial difficulties, legal troubles, and more.

A certain level of sadness or anxiety is normal with these types of events. It becomes depression when the feelings are out of proportion with the event that triggered them and interferes with your life.

For a diagnosis of situational depression, the symptoms will usually start within three months of the trigger. Symptoms can include:

#9: Atypical Depression

This type of depression may also get called major depression with atypical features. This depression is atypical in that it may temporarily go away when you experience positive events. Atypical depression presents a unique challenge when you have it. This is because you do not always appear to be depressed to other people or yourself. Atypical depression symptoms may include:

Do You Have Depression?

Do you believe that you may have depression? While there is not a blood test for depression, there are different assessments that can be done to determine if you have depression.

If you are worried that it is just all in your head, consider taking a depression self-assessment. This type of depression quiz is not a diagnosis, but it can help you determine whether or not you should talk to your doctor.

Talking to Your Doctor

For a diagnosis of depression, you must meet certain DSM criteria. Your doctor will be aware of the criteria and have their own assessment. They will ask you about your symptoms and what has been going on in your life.

It is important that you are honest, even though it can be difficult. Around 10 percent of individuals with depression commit suicide. Lack of diagnosis and treatment is a big reason behind this.

When you look at a lack of treatment and diagnosis, about half of the individuals with depression never get diagnosed or treated.

When speaking with your doctor, they may order blood tests. These blood tests will help rule out physical causes for your depression symptoms.

Information Your Doctor Needs

When you do go talk to your doctor, providing them as much information as possible is important. Information that will be helpful is when you first noticed your symptoms and how they have affected your daily life.

Genetics can play a role in depression, so take information about any history of mental illness in your family. In addition, your doctor may ask about other mental health conditions you have.

Finally, make sure to take a list of medications you are taking, including any herbs or supplements. Sometimes medication side effects can cause feelings of depression. If this is the case, it may be possible to look into changing your medication to see if it helps with symptoms.

Depression and Mental Health Stigma

Depression can be difficult to talk about. Especially, for older generations. In the past, mental health and depression have had a high stigma associated with them.

Men have been told to “toughen up,” and women’s symptoms are often associated with hormones. However, recently, discussions around depression and mental health in the media have been geared towards reducing stigma.

However, the negativity associated with a mental health diagnosis in the media has not completely disappeared. We still see portrayals of mental health disorders showing individuals who are violent or bad people.

This means that stigma around depression and other disorders still remains, despite some of the more positive steps. In addition, stigma does not just come from the public or institutions.

You can also have a self-stigma. This is when you have your own feelings of negativity or shame around your mental health. This can make it difficult to discuss your symptoms and receive a diagnosis.

How Do You Reduce Stigma?

Reducing stigma is important. Often what you see in media or other aspects of the public influences your own thoughts surrounding mental health.

Being open to talking about your experience can reduce stigma. Recently, influential stars, such as Lady Gaga, The Rock, and Selena Gomez have opened up about depression.

This is a big step in reducing stigma in younger generations. Other ways to reduce stigma include educating yourself and reducing harmful language around mental health.

There are many steps that you can take to reduce stigma. The most important step is to learn how.

Treating Depression

Depression can be treated through several routes. Your doctor may also prescribe more than one treatment.

Medications

Medication is a common way to treat depression. Your doctor may prescribe you an SSRI. This type of medication works on the serotonin in your body.

Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters in your body that can affect depression. However, SSRIs are not the only option for medication, just the most common.

If your doctor prescribes medication for your depression, it is important to talk to them about potential side effects. In addition, keep in mind that most anti-depressants can take a few weeks to start working.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can also be used. However, be sure to discuss these options with your doctor. Some natural remedies could interact with medications.

Chamomile, lavender, ginseng, and St. John’s Wort are all options when it comes to natural remedies.

Food and Diet

Did you know that what you eat can impact your mental health? This is especially true for individuals with gluten intolerance. One of the symptoms of gluten intolerance can actually be depression.

However, this is not the only food that can impact your mental health negatively. The good news is there are also foods that can improve your symptoms.

Fruit, vegetables, fish, and olive oil are all foods that can help.

Therapy

Typically, medication for depression is used in conjunction with talk therapy. Many methods of talk therapy now use what is referred to as CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

However, different therapists will take different approaches. The right therapist will tailor your treatment to you. Therapy is one of the best choices you can make for your mental health.

Physical Activity

When you exercise, your depression can improve. This is due to a few factors.

One of the most important factors is the release of endorphins. Endorphins stimulate norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is connected to mood.

In addition, regular exercise also helps you sleep better. A lack of sleep can trigger depression.

SoCal Sunrise Mental Health Is Here to Help

Dealing with depression is one of the hardest things for a person to experience. If you or a loved one have found oneself in a constant state of depression, we can help.

Our mental health treatment center offers a number of different treatments and therapies customized to your specific needs.

Reach out to us today to learn more about depression treatment in California with SoCal Sunrise.

References

  1. PsyCom (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination
  2. Article by: Jessica Truschel. (2020, September 25). Depression Definition and DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria. Retrieved from https://www.psycom.net/depression-definition-dsm-5-diagnostic-criteria/
  3. Bruce, D. F. (n.d.). Depression Diagnosis and Screening: What Doctors Look For. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-diagnosis
  4. Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
  5. Depression (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/depression-hp-pdq
  6. Diet and depression: Foods to eat and avoid. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318428
  7. Drug Options for Treating Depression and Anxiety Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/medications-treat-mental-disorders
  8. Genetics of Brain Function. (n.d.). Major Depression and Genetics. Retrieved from https://med.stanford.edu/depressiongenetics/mddandgenes.html
  9. SingleCare Team | Updated on Jan. 21, Team, S., & Team, S. (2021, January 21). Statistics about depression in the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/depression-statistics/
  10. Symptoms of Anxiety or Depressive Disorder and Use of Mental Health Care Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, August 2020–February 2021. (2021, April 01). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7013e2.htm