Depression … Am I Depressed?

Question: “How do I know If I am depressed?”

Answer: Depression is a condition that is fueled by several factors. More often than not laypersons think that depression is a result of a chemical imbalance based on discussion and rumor in layperson circles. Actually, it is not technically known what causes depression but we have a few solid leads on that issue.

Depression can be fueled or caused by physical changes in the body or brain, by thoughts and experiences, and also by environments or settings. For example, individuals that suffer an injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, can have drastick changes in mood and emotional regulation. Likewise, thoughts that are gloomy, negative, and disparaging all the way up to suicidal can fuel the body and mind into a slump of gloom and depression. Lastly, depression can be onset by trauma and conditions that are abusive to ones body or spirit, such as living in an abusive home.  Therapy and medication helps to manage depression when it begins to fuel relational and internal problems with individuals. In fact cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT has shown remarkable outcomes in patients not on medication. Patients on medication report with newer SSRIs such as Lexapro fewer symptoms and greater gains in mood stabilization.

The National Institute of Mental Health has information in depth about depression. This will help you gauge and understand what depression is and if you are depressed. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/depression.shtml

Alternatively, you could take a Beck Depression Inventory and get scored on the levels of depression you are experiencing. Do a google search for BDI or the inventory name and you can find copies of the assessment. I’d also recommend visiting with a therapist, as they are expert at ferreting through and helping you manage irrational and self-defeating thoughts, the primary fuel for depression. Hang in there, keep on your journey!

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