There is nothing amusing about depression, considering it is one of the most alarming disorders that affect people’s lives today.
Worldwide, 350 million people are believed to be dealing with depression, and in the U.S., 15.7 million people ages 18 years old and above (or 6.7 percent of adults) had a major depressive episode in 2014 alone.1
What’s alarming about this disorder is that it can have long-term effects on people’s mental health. It can cause people to commit suicide, which is one of the leading causes of mortality today.
At least two-thirds of people who commit suicide had suffered from depression before their deaths.2 But with millions suffering from depression worldwide, why are so many still failing to acknowledge that they have this disorder?
Many People Are Simply Unaware That They’re Depressed
According to an article in The Guardian, people can actually live with various symptoms of depression without ever realizing that they have this problem. In the article, clinical psychologist Angel Adams says:3
“People don’t quite understand that you can still function and have depression. A lot of people think if you have depression you’re going to quit your job and so on, but many people continue to work, continue to function but to a very different degree. You don’t have to be suicidal to be depressed. You can just be clinically depressed and think, ‘This is the way my life is.’”
Most laboratory tests are unhelpful when it comes to diagnosing depression. Rather, the best diagnostic tool that a doctor can use for this illness is talking to the patient. It’s recommended for doctors to routinely screen for depression.
This may be done during a checkup for a chronic illness, at an annual wellness visit or during a pregnancy or postpartum checkup.4
Depression that’s left untreated for a long period may severely impact not only your quality of life but may also lead you to self-harm, hurt others or may make you harbor suicidal thoughts or actions.
That’s why if you (or someone close to you) is exhibiting signs of depression, seek professional help immediately.
“Some of my patients have been surprised and shocked when I’ve told them they were depressed. They think it’s something else. If they have a lack of energy or fatigue, they might just think they’re doing too much. Sometimes they think, ‘It’s just this illness’ or ‘I had a break-up with somebody,’ but really they’re experiencing depression as well as the illness or the grief reaction,” Adam adds.
Depression Tests Are Also Available Online
Online depression tests are usually composed of statements that describe certain degrees of depression-related behavior. Answer the questions as truthfully as you can, making sure to select the answer that best corresponds to how you feel/act.
Once you’ve completed the test, you will be given an interpretation of your test results.
Mental Health America5 and PsyCom6 are two examples that you can use to help you determine if you have depression. You can also take the Goldberg Depression Test, designed by the late Dr. Ivan K. Goldberg, who founded PsyCom.net.
This test is a “quick-and-dirty self-assessment tool” that will help you better understand your emotional health.7
But keep in mind that online screening tests may not be reliable at all times, so you may still need to consult with a qualified practitioner to confirm whether you’re suffering from depression or not.