Is This Depression?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

In the past few years, I haven’t been getting much out of life. I don’t feel anything like I used to. Anger, happiness, joy, and even sadness seem to have left me. Things that used to give me emotional pleasure now just seem to entertain and occupy my mind. I don’t have ups and downs like teenagers are supposed to everything just seems kind of flat with a few dips. Things don’t feel very “real” anymore, the real world feels dreamy and I am constantly withdrawn. My mind is always racing and I have trouble concentrating, even trouble getting to sleep sometimes.

I also have lost any motivation to do things that require much effort. I procrastinate all the time and I get a strange, strong sense of dread when I have to do small tasks like taking out the trash.

So, in short, is this depression? I always thought that depression was a sad feeling. I don’t usually feel sad, but sad seems to be replaced with a “down” feeling.

A. Based on your symptoms, depression is a realistic possible diagnosis. To be diagnosed with depression one does not necessarily experience deep and constant sadness. Your symptoms, that may be indicative of depression, include: feeling emotionally “flat,” withdrawn, having trouble concentrating, sleep difficulties, loss of motivation, procrastination, and feeling “down.” These are all signs of depression.

What should your next steps be? You should be evaluated by a mental health professional. The mental health professional can verify whether you have a depression diagnosis. Secondly, seek treatment. You’ve noticed a change in your mood and behavior. You don’t have to wait until your symptoms become overwhelming before you enter treatment. Ideally, an individual should seek treatment as soon as they notice a negative change in their thinking and behavior. Third, visit your primary care physician. He or she can rule out a possible medical problem. In addition, your primary care physician can prescribe psychiatric medication.

My last and most important piece of advice is to speak to your parents. Let them know about your concerns. They can help you access treatment. Keep this in mind: your parents can only help if they are aware that a problem may exist. Communicate with them as much as possible.

I hope this answer helps guide you in the right direction. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Mar 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Is This Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/03/31/is-this-depression/