I know this isn’t a simple question to answer for someone you’ve never met, but I’d like a basic answer on whether or not it seems as though I may be depressed. Lately, my eating habits have increased rapidly, while my personality and energy has been decreasing. I haven’t found many activities I used to do much fun anymore, and I’m constantly worn out or restless but I don’t know why. I have also noticed my sleeping pattern has changed, I have trouble staying asleep and I’m constantly tired no matter how long I sleep for. Also, I have been feeling sad and unmotivated, I feel like I’ll be able to achieve my true goals and I’m starting to lose hope with my future. I have absolutely no suicidal thoughts and like to think of myself as outgoing and I’m not sure I feel an overall depression constantly, but I have been clinically diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and most online tests I take (knowing they aren’t completely reliable) say I could be depressed. Do you have any idea?

A. You are correct. It is difficult to know whether or not you have depression without having met you. However, based on the information you have provided, depression is a possibility. In addition, you mentioned the possibility of an anxiety disorder. It is common for depression and anxiety to co-occur.

You stated that you are having sleeping problems. Lack of sleep negatively impacts mood. Changes in sleep patterns could be a sign of depression, but they also could be underlying your mood and energy changes. Lack of sleep causes moodiness and irritability.

Meeting with a mental professional will help to identify the possible problem and what might be causing it. Having a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine what the problem may be and most importantly how to correct it.

Depression is highly treatable. If you’re open to treatment, you can expect a positive outcome. You are a good candidate for counseling. I recommend consulting your primary care physician (PCP). Ask for a referral to a mental health professional in your community. You might also try calling the 1-800 phone number on the back of your insurance card. They will help you find a mental health professional who can help.

Before your appointment, think deeply about what may be causing this problem. What might the source be? How long have you been feeling this way? Was it precipitated by an event? Did your mood changes coincide with a job change, a major decision, or a move, etc? Having the answers to those questions will provide helpful insights for therapy. Good luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle