National Depression Screening DayThe National Institute of Mental Health characterizes depression in this way: It’s “common but serious.” That’s a good way to describe it. Certainly, depression impacts a good many Americans, but just because it’s an everyday occurrence that hardly means that it should be taken lightly. Depression interferes not just with mood but with the ability to deal with each day’s responsibilities and its challenges. Depression can have significant ramifications, yet it can also be treated, with long-lasting recovery more than attainable. Depression is also a serious issue within the eating disorder community, as many who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with depression as a co-occurring condition. Since National Depression Screening Day is in October, we’re seizing this chance to share some quick insights about what depression is, how it relates to eating disorders, and what can be done to detect it.
Understanding DepressionFirst of all, understand that depression doesn’t always take the same form. In fact, clinicians recognize many different types of clinical depression, including:
- Persistent depressive disorder, a mood disorder that lasts for at least a couple of years and may be accompanied by severe depressive episodes.
- Perinatal depression, experienced by women after giving birth.
- Psychotic depression, where the symptoms of severe depression are mixed with the symptoms of psychosis.
- Seasonal affective disorder, which usually rears its head when it’s winter and sunlight is diminished.
- Bipolar disorder, where depressive and manic episodes alternate.
Detecting DepressionThere are some early warning signs that serve as red flags, alerting you that you or your loved one may have a form of depression. Some of these red flags include:
- A persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Persistent feelings of pessimism
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies, passions, activities, etc.
- Lack of energy
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Thoughts of suicide or death