What is Depression?
If you have never experienced depression before, it can be hard to understand and difficult to handle. It’s important to realise that there’s a difference between being sad and being clinically depressed. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines depression as the existence of five or more of the following symptoms during the same 2-week period. At least one of the symptoms must be either (1) a depressed mood or (2) a loss of interest or pleasure.
Common symptoms of depression based on The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders include:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Loss of interest/pleasure in all or most activities throughout most of the day
- Significant weight loss or weight gain (without dieting) or decreased appetite nearly every day. The DSM-5 has defined “significant weight loss or gain” as a change of more than 5 per cent body weight in one month. Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) nearly every day
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day. Psychomotor agitation includes movements that serve no purpose. Examples include pacing around the room, tapping your toes, or rapid talking. Psychomotor retardation is the slowing down of thoughts and a reduction of physical movements in an individual. It can cause a visible slowing of one’s speech and affect.
- Having fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Suffering from feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate feelings of guilt almost every day Decreased concentration nearly every day
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide. This does not include the fear of dying but refers to suicidal ideation without a specific plan, as well as suicide attempts and suicide ideation with a particular plan.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not offer bulk billing.
Before you book your appointment to see a psychologist, it is important to consider the costs involved. This will help you to weigh your options and make the right decision for you and your health. Patients with a referral/mental health care plan from a GP will be eligible to claim a rebate from Medicare. We accept direct deposit or credit card/debit cards.
To suit your individual needs and preferences, sessions with a psychologist can be spaced weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
For more information about costs, inquire at Pynk Health.
Necessary Diagnostic Symptoms
In addition to experiencing 5 of the common symptoms, a person must be experiencing all of the following symptoms in order to receive a diagnosis for clinical depression.
- Symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other essential areas of daily functioning.
- These episodes are not attributable to the psychological effects of a substance or another medical condition.
- These episodes are not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, a schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specific and unspecific schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
- No history of manic or hypomanic episodes
- These episodes are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.
What Are The Warning Signs?
It’s important to know what symptoms constitute clinical depression, but it’s also helpful to see how that applies to your everyday life. Everyone experiences depression differently, but there are some common signs that might indicate a person is suffering from depression. Common warning signs include the following:
Constant depressed mood
If you’re feeling down more often and more intensely than usual, it might be more than just sadness.
Lack of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
A typical early warning sign of depression is losing interest in activities that you usually enjoy. If you find yourself spending time alone more often because you’re feeling down, it might be helpful to speak with someone who specialises in depression and other mental health issues.
Everyone has moments of anger and irritability, but if you’re noticing that small things are setting you off or making you feel uncharacteristically angry more often than usual, it might be something worth exploring.
Hopelessness & Reckless Behaviour
Many people who are feeling depressed end up engaging in reckless behaviour because, in the moment, they don’t really care about what happens to them. When someone feels hopeless, it’s easy to understand how that might affect their decision-making process and lead to making more dangerous choices. If you notice that you or someone you know is engaging in reckless behaviour and seems to be feeling hopeless, it’s important to reach out or offer help.
Self Loathing and Feelings of Worthlessness
Another common warning sign of depression is self-loathing and feelings of worthlessness. This can manifest itself in several ways. For example, a person may feel worthless and worry excessively that they aren’t able to perform their job functions properly, so they just stop showing up for work. This usually exacerbates the feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing, so it just turns into a vicious cycle. If you notice yourself falling into this cycle, please reach out for help!
What Should I Do If I Feel Depressed?
Depression manifests itself differently in everyone. Even if you aren’t experiencing all of these symptoms at once doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from therapy or other mental health treatment services. Therapy can be immensely helpful even for people who aren’t diagnosed with clinical depression. It’s always better to intervene as early as possible before things get out of control. At Pynk Health, we can help, whether you’re clinically depressed or just going through a difficult time in your life. If you’re feeling depressed or experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, it’s important to reach out for professional help.
Asking For Help Does Not Make You Weak!
Please remember that asking for help does not make you weak! In Australia, 1 in 6 women will experience depression in their lifetime. It’s common, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you just because you’re experiencing these types of symptoms. Counselling can be tremendously helpful. When you find the right therapist, you will be able to discuss your issues and explore what’s going on in your life that is causing you to feel this way. It might be biological, or it might be a combination of your biology and other external factors you are currently dealing with. Whatever it is, an experienced professional can be so helpful.
Long Term Impacts & Suicide Risk
Leaving depression untreated can have severe consequences, especially if you’re feeling suicidal. In 2019, there were a total of 3,318 suicides in Australia. Out of those 3,318 people, 816 were females. Suicide is a real and very serious issue. Asking for help and receiving treatment for your depression can make all the difference. If you’re feeling depressed and are having thoughts about suicide, please get help! You’re worth it. You can call the Lifeline’s suicide hotline 24 hours per day, seven days per week, if you are feeling suicidal and unsure what to do.