Everyone feels down in the dumps from time to time: it’s a natural part of life. But if you find yourself unable to snap out of that feeling within a reasonable period, then you may be suffering from depression.
Here is a list of the symptoms a doctor will look for when considering a diagnosis of depression. Find out if you may have it, and–most importantly–what to do about it, here:
Do any of the following apply to you?
Insomnia or disturbed sleep.
Fatigue or loss of energy.
Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities and hobbies.
Suicidal or morbid thoughts of actions.
Feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness, excessive guilt, lack of confidence.
Change in weight or appetite.
Consistently depressed mood.
Difficulty concentrating or decreased clarity of thought.
Avoidance of responsibility for fear of failure.
If you think you may be severely depressed
If many or most of the above statements were true for you, We recommend that you visit your family physician to rule out any physical causes for your symptoms. If none are indicated, ask your doctor for a recommendation, or check your Yellow Pages for your local Mental Health Association to find out where to go for help. Other helpful resources might include your family service agency, clergyperson, school counselor, crisis center, reiki practitioner or other alterative healer, psychologist, hot line, marriage or family counselor, social worker, nurse psychotherapist, or emergency room.
If you think you may be moderately or mildly depressed
If several or a few of the above statements applied to you, you may want to see your family physician to rule out a physical cause for your symptoms. And here are some helpful things to try (this list in no way substitutes going to a qualified mental health specialist, which is recommended):
30 minutes of daily vigorous exercise.
Standardized extract of St. John’s Wort. A recent study discussed on WebMD showed that St. John’s Wort was as effective as Paxil (with fewer side-effects) for treating mild to moderate depression. Follow label directions.
Increased consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as flaxseeds and oil, and walnuts).
Vitamin B complex supplements.
Meditation, breathing exercises, and/or yoga.