How do you know if you have depression?
To be diagnosed with Depression, two of these moods must be present everyday:
- Low moods
- Anhedonia or a loss of interest or pleasure in all or most activities.
3 or more of the following symptoms must be present everyday over a period of two weeks.
- Significant weight gain or weight loss
- Insomnia ( unable to sleep) or hypersomnia ( sleeping too much)
- Psychomotor agitation or movement retardation
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Reduced ability to think or concentrate or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death
These symptoms must cause a person a lot of distress and limit the person in engaging in normal living and routines. These symptoms cannot be caused by any other disease or medication or substance abuse
Here’s a video about depression
What causes depression
There has been a lot of debate around the causes of depression, one popular explanation is chemical imbalances in the brain particularly the lack of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps your brain cells to communicate with each other. This idea was proposed in 1950’s as scientist at that time was focused on the role of chemicals in the brain. Recent research however has found that the causes of depression is far more complex than just the lack of brain chemistry. The cause is more likely an inter-play between, genetic disposition, social factors, stress and trauma.
The latest psychological research conducted by a leading research institute in UK suggest that one of the main links to depression is the way we process our thoughts and the way we remember things. The two factors, processing style and over-general memory can almost predict if a person will fall into depression.
A person with over-general memory has problems remembering specific facts about a unique event. For example, Joe is suffering from depression. If we talk to Joe about a topic, say, the grass in the field. Joe will say that grass is green and you can find it in the park, which is general memory. Joe however cannot remember and tell you the specific event that just happened last week, when he spent a happy day with his family and had a picnic on the grass in the park. Joe struggles with such specific memory because he has depression. Joe however, may remember that part of the event if it rained at the end of the outing and he got drenched and caught a cold. Because negative emotions tend to be remembered better than positive ones, Joe will also more likely remember a negative experience rather than the positive experience. So a person in depression may appear to only look at the negative aspects of life eventhough they are not deliberately trying to be negative.
Read about this anime Evangelion, about characters that struggle with depression by clicking on the image
Do a mood check to see what level of help you need. Depression can be treated, please seek professional help if you have similar symptoms.
If you are engaging in self-harm and feel like ending your life please seek help immediately.
SOS – Samaritans of Singapore (24 hours)
Mental Health Helpline ( 24 Hours)