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Understanding & Diagnosing Depression

Clinical depression is a mental health disorder characterized by having a persistently unhappy mood and/or a loss of interest in normal activities which causes a significant impairment to a person?s daily life. Depression causes a range of symptoms that impact how a person feels, thinks, and handles regular activities, including sleeping, eating, and working.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

Depression affects each person differently. For a diagnosis of depression, the symptoms must be present for the majority of the day during almost every day for a period of a minimum of two weeks. While overwhelming sadness is the most well-known symptom of depression, individuals may also exhibit a number of additional symptoms that may include

  • Persistent down, anxious, or apathetic mood
  • Sense of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest in or no pleasure from activities or hobbies
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling slow
  • Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or remembering
  • Problems making decisions
  • Fixation on things that have gone wrong or past events
  • Extreme irritability or restlessness
  • Problems managing anger
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Suicide attempts
  • Aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems

Depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, as they often feel reluctant to seek help or think that depression is a normal part of growing older. In fact, depression can be a severe and debilitating condition that should always be taken seriously. Symptoms of depression that may be different or less obvious in older adults include:

  • Physical aches or pain
  • Memory difficulties or personality changes
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Wanting to stay at home rather than going out
  • No desire to socialize or try new things
  • Suicidal thoughts, particularly in men

If you believe that you or a loved one are depressed, make an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor. It?s essential that you get the condition diagnosed and in order to live the happiest, healthiest life you can. And if you need assistance with daily tasks of caring for someone else, reach out to Specialty Care Services for support today!

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