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    Symptoms Of Depression

    Although there is a wealth of information about depression and effective treatments with successful results, stigma around being diagnosed with depression and other mental health conditions persists.  Someone going through an episode of depression may have heard some of the following comments from others around them:

    “Just snap out of it!”
    “Be strong!”
    “Don’t be sad!”

    The symptoms of depression manifest themselves emotionally but can often appear as physical symptoms in the body, for example- chronic pain in parts of the body or digestive problems: gastric distress, no appetite, or cramping.  Others may appear to be sad or withdrawn most of the time, and some may present as angry or irritable, getting easily angered and having verbal outbursts; this is very common to see in teens.  Experiencing an episode of depression can feel like being in a trap set by your own mind because your thoughts directly affect your emotions.  The more negative your thought process, the higher the chances are you feel dragged down emotionally.

    Depression (also referred to as Major Depressive Disorder-MDD) is a mental health condition classified as a serious mood disorder where the individual has a prolonged period of feeling sad or hopeless and stops having interest in things once enjoyed.  There is also situational depression where someone is experiencing a period of sadness due to a job loss or a relationship break-up.  Because of chemical balancing in the brain, depression can also be a chronic condition needing lifelong maintenance.  This may include, but are not limited to, things like- ongoing individual therapy with a psychotherapist, medication management with a psychiatrist, eating style changes (for example, eliminating processed foods from your diet), and maintaining a consistent exercise routine.

    In order to diagnosis MDD, mental health professionals refer to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 (DSM 5).  According to the DSM 5, the symptoms of depression:

    – must cause a clearly noticeable difference in the way you operate in areas of functioning such as in:

    1. Social interactions (i.e., isolating in your room, avoiding contact with family, your partner, or friends)
    2. Personal relationships (i.e., frequent arguments with your spouse or family member or having a negative mood that makes it difficult for others to be around you), or
    3. Work performance (i.e., making mistakes on projects you wouldn’t normally make, conflict with co-workers, difficulty arriving to work on time, or calling off work frequently).

    -must not be attributed to results of substance use or another medical or mental health condition; and

    -must not have a history of manic or hypomanic episode.

    For the same 2-week period, the individual experiences 5 or more of the following symptoms:

    one must be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest of pleasure-

    1. Depressed mood for most of the day, nearly every day.
    2. Clearly noticeable diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities most of the day, almost daily.
    3. Decrease or increase in food intake almost daily along with significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain.
    4. The slowness or restlessness in your physical movement is noticed by others.
    5. Feeling extremely tired or loss of energy almost daily.
    6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt almost daily.
    7. Significantly decreased ability to think clearly or concentrate, or indecisiveness, almost daily.
    8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for completing suicide.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to get help.  If there is imminent danger, call 911 immediately. You can use any of the following options to contact someone who can help or in the least can direct you about where to get help:

    Los Angeles County ACCESS Center

    TDD: 562-651-2549

    Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention & Survivor Hotline


    County wide Resources



      It’s All in Your Gut: When Depression is a Symptom of Digestive Disease
      By Mikel Theobald, Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD
      Depression Definition and DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria
      Article by: Jessica Truschel