Is It Depression? – 6 Signs Therapists Look For
Experiencing negative thoughts or feelings might prompt you to ask yourself, “Is it depression?”
After all, depression is notorious for painting a listless shade over life in general.
As it goes, there are numerous depression symptoms ranging from sadness to suicidal thoughts. Each person’s symptoms are as unique as that person.
When asking if it’s depression or just a few bad days, therapists do look for very specific signs. But they also look for a few depression symptoms that often play the part of an umbrella. In other words, these symptoms tend to occur in most patients dealing with depression.
Here is a list of these common symptoms.
1. Onslaught of Negative Feelings
Everyone has a bad day now and then. Sometimes, even a bad week. And that’s okay. However, feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless day after day isn’t okay.
These particular symptoms can eat away at your self-esteem making you feel depleted. You might experience anxiety on a daily basis that brings added stress to your relationships.
When wondering is it depression or not, try keeping track of your feelings. Monitor their intensity and duration, then share this with your therapist to help them come to a diagnosis more quickly.
2. Decline in Critical Thinking Skills
Another frequent depression symptom involves your critical thinking skills. For example, you might have difficulty concentrating or even remembering. Perhaps you were formerly an excellent decision-maker but are now roadblocked by the most simple choices.
3. Appetite or Weight Changes
It’s not uncommon for your physical body to show obvious signs that something is bothering you. For many people, depression symptoms include a significant change in appetite. This change could either be overeating or under-eating.
Also, you could very well see changes in your weight. In step with your changing appetite, you may have gained or even lost weight.
The human body is an all-encompassing being. So, when one part is off-kilter you often experience a mirror effect throughout your entire body.
4. Insomnia or Trouble Sleeping
Not being able to go to sleep or stay asleep is another common depression symptom. Your sleep/wake cycle tends to remain fairly solid unless it’s significantly disrupted. And depression would constitute a significant disruption.
A therapist will inquire about your sleeping habits as well as your bedtime routine. Perhaps you truly aren’t powering down like your body needs and that is negatively impacting your entire being.
5. Loss of Interest
Losing interest in the things you used to enjoy is one of the biggest red flags in mental health. Some people don’t always recognize the significance of going from experiencing pleasure from hobbies or activities to disinterest. But, it’s a huge sign that something is wrong.
Take stock in your current list of fun activities and hobbies you enjoy. When looking at if it’s depression or not, examine your list. Is it much shorter than it used to be or even empty?
6. Restlessness or Irritability
Feeling restless usually goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. It’s almost as if you simply can’t relax for a minute. Or you feel guilty when you do. This restless feeling often irritates you and makes you edgy.
Restlessness has a way of attaching itself to you like a leach and draining your energy. When wondering is it depression, do some introspection on how restless and irritated you actually feel.
For a full list of signs and symptoms, you can click here. If you are struggling with sadness and other symptoms, it is best to have a therapist assess the severity and length of depression symptoms and discuss the safest and healthiest ways for you to get better. Like many other depression symptoms, your therapist will assess the length and intensity of these signs.
One of the most unfortunate effects of depression is that it convinces you that your negative outlook is based on reality. But it is crucial to understand that this is not the case. Once treatment begins to work, the darkness will lift and a more accurate perception of your life can become clear to you. I encourage you to reach out for help, don’t waste another day in sadness and anxiety.
Rebecca Klasfeld is a licensed clinical social worker in Boca Raton, Florida. If you’re ready to take the next step in addressing your depression, you are invited to call at 561-441-9933 or fill out the contact form and click send. Together, we can strategize a plan to help you manage your depression and reclaim your life.