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How Do I Know If I Have Depression

How Do I Know If I Have Depression

It’s not often that we find ourselves wondering, ‘How do I know if I have depression?’, but when we do, it comes with some considerations.

Depression is a serious mental health concern that is often left undiagnosed or untreated. While it’s more commonly diagnosed today than it was in the past, there is still some stigma associated with it.

However, the treatments available today are more effective than they were even just twenty years ago, and many doctors now have more experience and medically-founded expertise in helping people manage or treat the health condition.[1]

As an Australian-based online personal health platform, at Mosh aim to connect you to mental health professionals  who are more than capable of helping you take care of your mental health, whether it’s through prescription medication or one-on-one counselling.

Here are a few details you’ll want to know if you’ve been asking yourself, ‘How do I know if I have depression?’

Depression affects how you feel, think and behave, and there are physical symptoms as well. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/depression

What is depression?

While the definition of what is depression continues to evolve as more research is reviewed and validated, there is enough significant progress in the field that doctors can reference to make a diagnosis.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), major depressive disorder (MDD), commonly known as depression or clinical depression, is a mood disorder that negatively affects your mood, thoughts, and behaviours.[2]

A person suffering from depression may feel numb to external stimulation, such as loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, feel sad, suffer irritability, or a strong sense of resignation or despair. Various physical and emotional problems can result from this mental state, making it hard to function at work and at home. At its worst, depression has been medically recognised to lead to thoughts of suicide.[3]

Can depression be treated?

Answering ‘how do I know if I have depression?’ can be complex, but treating it is fairly straightforward with the help of medical assistance.

Certain types of depression commonly develop alongside anxiety, though it can also develop independently, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. The symptoms of depression vary from person to person, with some people experiencing it only once, while for others the condition persists for long periods.

The good news is that while there’s no definitive cause for what causes depression, the disorder can be treated or even be prevented with appropriate support.[4]  There are symptoms that you can take note of, and while they don’t necessarily or immediately indicate depression, being aware of these symptoms helps greatly in recognising when to seek medical advice or take a depression test.

What criteria is considered for a depression diagnosis?

When it comes to answering the question, ‘How do I know if I have depression?’, doctors all over the world refer to the DSM-5 for answers.

The DSM-5 is the benchmark diagnostic tool used worldwide in diagnosing mental and psychosocial disorders. According to the DSM-5, a depression diagnosis requires five or more recognised signs of depression. This same metric is used to determine the severity of a depressive episode and the urgency of medical intervention.

Before we continue, a disclaimer: this article is only for educational purposes and should not be used or considered as medical advice. If you require medical assessment either through depression and anxiety test or a doctor’s consultation, please get in touch with us through our online questionnaire.

Below are significant symptoms of what does depression feel like.[5] 


  • Day-to-day fatigue or loss of energy


  • Daily psychomotor agitation or impairment


  • Nightly or recurring insomnia or hypersomnia


  • A significant change in body weight without any change in daily routine


  • A marked decline in interest or enjoyment in nearly all activities


  • Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt


  • Indecisiveness or diminished abilities to concentrate nearly every day


  • Suicidal thoughts, spontaneous suicide attempts or suicide plans, or recurring thoughts of death

When it comes to determining ‘How do I know if I have depression?’, it’s important to note that symptoms of depression may also indicate or are comorbid with other disorders or medical conditions, such as but not limited to anxiety disorders, personality disorders, or certain neurologic diseases.[6]

If you find yourself relating to many of the above-listed symptoms, Mosh strongly urges that you seek medical help right away.

What tests can be done to find out if I have depression?

A key component to answering ‘How do I know if I have depression?’ and consequent treatment of depressive disorders is careful assessment. To this end, detailed assessments of depression symptoms help greatly in guiding a patient’s treatments and gauging their progress throughout their treatment.[7]

The following are only a few of the many diagnostic tests used to diagnose clinical depression in adults.[8] 

Beck Hopelessness Scale. This test is a self-report measure that assesses hopelessness in adults aged 17 to 80. In this test, you will be asked to assess your negative expectations for the future. Participants will answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a series of twenty items and take five to ten minutes to complete.

Social Adjustment Scale (SAS-SR). The SAS-SR is a self-report tool that measures a person’s social functioning using a questionnaire of fifty-four items rated on a 5-point scale. The test takes about twenty minutes to complete and is intended for people 17 years and older. There are also shorter versions available that take between five and ten minutes to complete.

Social Functioning Questionnaire (SFQ). Like the SAS-SR, the SFQ is a self-reporting questionnaire that measures an adult’s social functioning over the past two weeks. There are eight questions on the questionnaire, each of which is also rated but on a 4-point scale. The SFQ typically takes less than four minutes to complete.

Regarding the question, ‘How do I know if I have depression?’, the treatment of chronic depression – especially in its early stages – is vital in preventing self-harm and managing the symptoms of the condition. We at Mosh insist on not hesitating to seek advice if you feel you are at risk and are always ready to hear from you. 

Can I get diagnosed for depression online?

When it comes to understanding how to deal with depression, multimodal digital therapy platforms – platforms that support multiple channels for communication – have shown great promise in overcoming barriers to gaining access to mental health care and assistance.[11]

To wit, there have been studies done into the effectiveness of online platforms as a means of mental health counselling, and have been observed to be effective across genders, financial status, and physical health status.[11] 

Mosh is one such multimodal platform, offering professional consultations through Australian healthcare professional phone calls, video calls, or text messaging. All of our health practitioners here at Mosh are also fully licensed and registered with the  Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and have extensive professional experience in their areas of specialisation.

We also offer a variety of over-the-counter and prescription treatments for mental health and personal care to better aid in developing a healthier and happier you.

So go ahead and put yourself first, and ask, ‘How do I know if I have depression?’ with one of our health professionals today.

FAQs

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

Symptoms of depression can include persistent sadness, irritability, loss of interest in activities, changes in sleep or appetite, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and difficulty concentrating.

How is depression diagnosed?

Depression is typically diagnosed through a physical exam, psychological evaluation, and discussion of symptoms with a healthcare provider.

What are the different types of depression?

Major depression, bipolar disorder, perinatal depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder are some of the different types of depression.

How can I get help for depression?

If you suspect you may have depression, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional, therapist, or counsellor. Organisations like Beyond Blue also offer resources and support.

What causes depression?

Depression can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Trauma, stress, and certain medical conditions can also contribute to the development of depression.

How is depression treated?

Treatment for depression may include therapy, medication such as antidepressants, lifestyle changes, and support from healthcare professionals. It’s important to seek professional help to determine the most suitable treatment plan.

Can depression look different for different people?

Yes, depression can manifest differently in individuals. While some may experience classic symptoms like persistent sadness, others may exhibit symptoms like irritability, physical symptoms, or loss of interest in activities.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4115320/ 

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6176119/ 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4115320/  

[4] https://www.unicef.org/parenting/mental-health/what-is-depression 

[5] https://floridabhcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/MDD_Adult-Guidelines-2019-2020.pdf 

[6] https://www.med.or.jp/english/pdf/2001_05/225_229.pdf 

[7] https://www.apa.org/depression-guideline/assessment 

[8] https://www.apa.org/depression-guideline/assessment 

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8094743/ 

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8521970/ 

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6364202/ 

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