Reviewed by Dawn Brown, LPC, NCC
It can be hard to distinguish if you're feeling depression or not. Especially if you experience symptoms like emotional numbness, it might not match what you think of when you hear the word "depression." Depression is a common mental health disorder, with 16.1 million individuals aged 18 and above living with major depressive disorder (MDD) in the United States. That does not include the number of kids and teens that have a major depressive disorder, nor does it include those who experience other types of depression, which we will talk about in this article. The good news about depression is that it is treatable and that if you have depression, there is hope.
Read the depression questionnaire or depression symptom checklist below to see if you might be experiencing the symptoms of depression.
- Has your mood been low or depressed consistently?
Has your mood been low or depressed consistently? If yes, for how long? Take note of this and bring it to a mental health professional so that they can evaluate you for depression.
- Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy?
The two most notable diagnostic markers of depression are a low or depressed mood (see above) and loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy. You must have at least one of these symptoms to get a diagnosis of MDD. An example of this symptom would be that maybe you used to do art, but now it feels bleak and pointless.
- Do you feel worthless, hopeless, or guilty?
Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt are extremely common depressive symptoms. If you are feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty, make sure to reach out to a medical or mental health provider. This is not something that you have to continue to live with, and it's one of the many things that can be resolved or improved with depression treatment.
- Do you feel fatigued?
Do you feel fatigued or tired? This is a common symptom of depression, depressive disorders, or a depressive episode. You may find it hard to get out of bed, or you may feel tired throughout the day for seemingly no reason. If you feel fatigued and find that your energy levels are low, it is absolutely essential to see another medical or mental health provider. This could very well be a symptom of depression, or it could mark another medical or mental health condition.
- Have you been sleeping too much or too little?
How has your sleep been? Have you experienced hypersomnia (sleeping too much) or insomnia (sleeping too little)? It might be hard to gauge what would be considered sleeping too much or too little. Think about your sleep and your sleep quality. Is it hard for you to get to sleep? Do you wake up too early? Is it difficult for you to get out of bed? Do you sleep in a normal amount without any other cause, feel like you could sleep for most of the day, or want to sleep for most of the day? If so, it could be a symptom of depression. If this is your only symptom, it could be affiliated with something else, so it is important to see a medical or mental health professional regardless of who can determine if you might have depression, insomnia, or another medical or mental health condition that's impacting your sleep.
- Have you been crying excessively?
Not everyone with depression cries excessively, but some do. If you're experiencing pervasive feelings of sadness and bouts of crying, it is essential to speak to a medical or mental health provider.
- Do you feel numb emotionally?
This may appear to be a contrast from the question, "have you been crying excessively?" One of the most important things to note about depression is that it does impact everyone differently. So, while someone might experience persistent or even volatile feelings of sadness, another person will feel completely emotionally numb or blunted.
- Do you have trouble focusing?
If you have trouble focusing and concentrating and it's not due to another reason, such as having ADHD or ADD, it could be a symptom of depression or another medical or mental health condition.
- Are you isolating from others?
Do you find that you are isolating yourself or withdrawing from other people? This could mean that you're not replying to your friend's text messages without any other reason, that you're not talking to your loved ones, or that you're withdrawn in general.
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it's crucial to see a medical or mental health professional.
Types Of Depression
It may be helpful to learn about the different types of depressive disorders if you believe that you could have depression or if someone around you struggles with depression. Going through the checklist above will help you to recognize common depression symptoms, but learning about the different types of depressive disorders might help you gain a better understanding of which one would be the most applicable to you.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major Depressive Disorder is a common type of depression that is characterized by a number of symptoms. Again, to be diagnosed with major depression, you must have at least one of the two following symptoms:
- Loss of interest in activities one used to enjoy
- Low or depressed mood
In addition to one or both of those symptoms, you may experience irritability, trouble focusing and concentrating, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt, insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue or tiredness, changes in appetite, social isolation or withdrawal, and so on.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent depressive disorder or PDD is commonly referred to as a chronic, low level, and persistent form of depression. To be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, you must experience depressive symptoms for two years or more. Say that you have felt a persistent low mood for the past two years or more, or you haven't found that would-be enjoyable activities make you feel a sense of enjoyment or excitement. Things feel consistently a little bit bleak, even if it's not volatile or extreme. This could mean that you have a persistent depressive disorder. To find out, see a medical or mental health provider
Seasonal Affective Disorder (MDD)
Seasonal affective disorder is actually a subtype of major depressive disorder MDD that is characterized by depressive episodes that occur on a seasonal basis. Light therapy and talk therapy are common forms of treatment for seasonal affective disorder.
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that has an onset that occurs following or during pregnancy. It will include symptoms of depression that are listed in the questionnaire above but can also include symptoms such as fear surrounding the well-being of your baby or feeling that you are not attaching to your child as you should. Many new parents experience the baby blues, but if you recently gave birth and your symptoms are impacting your life, it is very important to reach out for help. This is a pretty common disorder that affects roughly one out of every eight people who give birth. It doesn't make you any less of a loving parent, and it is not your fault, so do not be ashamed and make sure to talk with your doctor or another medical or mental health professional.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD is a type of depression that occurs before your menstrual period. Say that your PMS symptoms seem more severe than your friends. You may find that you feel so depressed the week before your period that you feel like a different person. Your symptoms may impact your ability to work or function in educational settings. They may also impact your relationships, whether those are romantic, familial, or friend relationships. This is an experience that is consistent with a diagnosis of PMDD, so if you see yourself in this description, it's important to reach out to a medical or mental health provider. Being aware that this is something you're going through can help you manage your symptoms.
Bipolar disorder isn't characterized as a depressive disorder, but it is a disorder that includes periods of depression. If you experience both mania or hypomania and periods of depression, it is vital that you bring your symptoms to a professional who can diagnose you.
How Do You Know If You Have Depression?
If you’re searching for “how to get diagnosed with depression,” the answer is that it’s easier than you might think. The first step that most people take is making a doctor’s appointment and explaining that you believe you may have depression. Note that learning about depressive disorders isn't a replacement for going to a provider who can give you an accurate diagnosis. If you're researching depression and think you might have it, the best thing to do is to take your symptoms to your general doctor or another medical or mental health professional and express that you believe you may have depression and why. List your symptoms, how they're impacting you, and how long you've been experiencing them during your visit. If your primary care provider is not able to help or isn't as responsive as you'd like, ask for a referral to a psychiatrist who can evaluate you for depression or any other mental health condition. Psychiatrists often have a deeper understanding of mental health conditions, and though both general doctors and psychiatrists can diagnose depression, it does depend on the level of knowledge your general doctor has on mental health.
Take The Mind Diagnostics Depression Test
Are you looking for a depression self-test or depression screening test? Are you wondering if you could have depression? If you think that you might, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics free depression test. The Mind Diagnostics depression test is confidential and easy to take. While the Mind Diagnostics depression assessment or test isn't a replacement for a formal diagnosis or evaluation from a mental health provider, it might be the first step to getting the help you need.
Click here to take the Mind Diagnostics depression test.