Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Are digestive problems embarrassing you? Have you lost or gained so much weight that you can’t explain it? Have you lost interest in or satisfaction with daily activities, including those you used to consider “favorite” activities? Are you so tired and/or so unmotivated that you can’t concentrate one day to the next? Are you more irritable than usual but unable to change your behavior? Have you lost interest in sex? Do various muscle aches and joint pains bother you, whether or not you sit still day after day or work out? Are your headaches frequent and so strong that you need to lie down? Do you sometimes feel debilitating chest pains, but your doctor says they’re not about heart problems? Does one day seem as bad as the other with no sign of anything ever getting better? Did you know that the above questions are typical, common questions in tests for depression? Did you know that new ones are cropping up?
Depression, like many other illnesses, comes with a set of predictable symptoms. If they last two weeks or longer, then mental health professionals label the problem “Clinical Depression.” It is a cause for professional and compassionate attention. Sufferers of clinical depression need assistance to get past their emotions which seem to be stuck in a rut, or worse. An awareness of the overall problem enlightens mental health professionals as to what to look for to identify depressed people from the rest of society.
Depression also comes with predictable, related dangers such as suicide, drug abuse and other harmful behaviors to oneself and/or others. It is a reason to treat depressed people with appropriate insight, compassion and methods out of their suffering.
The causes of depression are many, potentially limitless. Chronic illness is one. So is being the caregiver to a deteriorating family member. Relationship problems are classic causes of depression. Poor nutrition can cause depression. So can the loss of loved ones, relocating to new jobs, home, countries, bad marriages and divorce. Job discrimination based on any excuse is another possible cause of depression. Not knowing how to cope with disabilities, the loss of a sexual partner, etc. are other possible caused for depression.
Developments and trends in daily life, if they are not moderated sensibly, can precipitate depression, too. That highlights a need to update standard depression tests.
This November 16, 2016 Johns Hopkins University press release announced “DEPRESSION RATES GROWING AMONG ADOLESCENTS, PARTICULARLY GIRLS.” Despite the statistics cited in the article, researchers were not certain about the cause of the increasing problem. It coincided with some economic downturn realities, but it seemed odd that adults had not suffered a similar rate of depression as the unhappy teen girls identified in the study. The cause had to be something that doesn’t bother adults, or doesn’t bother them as much as affected teen girls. Note the bolded text regarding the researcher findings mentioned in the press release: “Cyberbullying, for example, may have increased more in girls, as studies have shown that they use mobile phones more frequently and intensively than boys and problematic mobile phone use among young people has been linked to depressed mood.” The phenomenon coincides with some developments and trends in the rather new digital age. It is clear that some youngsters need to master the art of limiting their time online and their responses to nasty people. That need is now promoting the inclusion of new questions on tests for depression such as “How much time do you spend online each day?” “Is someone bothering you on social media? “Have you sent or received sexting content?” “Is your online life interfering with other activities or relationships?”
There are other causes of depression these days, and they’re being identified. Tests for depression will be updated accordingly. That’s good news for people struggling to find the way out of problems they need to overcome.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.