How do you know if it's depression or just a few bad days?

  1. How would you help someone figure out if they're suffering from depression, or if they're just having more than a few back days but it will get better?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   aimeee
    That can be a tough call. There is a lot of overlap between the two. I would suggest starting with a depression screening tool and if the score is suggestive of depression then recommend seeing a professional. Here is one online tool:

    depression screening tool
  4. by   canoehead
    They say that the feeling down needs to last at least two weeks before you start thinking along the lines of clinical depression.
  5. by   tripletmom
    I would pay close attention to your feelings. Depression has an ugly way of taking hold of you when you least expect it. I unfortunatly found out the hard way. Keep a journal, you may be surprised at what you write and it's a great venting tool. I also thought I'm just having a bad day. Then a bad week, month, so on. I didn't realize it until I was unable to function. Please don't let it get to that point. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Take care and start a journal.
  6. by   tattooednursie
    My CESD score was 43 on that screening.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    It was a no-brainer; I scored an astronomically high score on the assessment. Depression has been an on and off part of my life since about age 11, sometimes situational, most definately chemical. Most of my family has a problem with it; both my parents are definately in trouble (but will never, ever seek help outside of drinks containing plenty of alcohol), and both my sisters have been treated for depression and paralyzing anxiety and panic attacks.

    If you feel sad, blue, teary or have low self-esteem most of the time, you need help. If you even feel you *might* have a problem ( your instincts are a good guide), it is likely you do and can benefit from professional intervention, and possibly medication. Not everyone needs ongoing long-term medication and therapy. For some, just a "reality check" is good therapy. Others of us battle long-term issues.

    That said, It is a waste and a tragedy to go thru life in a state of clinical depression when you don't need to. Get help in you have any doubt as to your well-being! Good luck!
  8. by   Robin61970
    Mine was a 23...no surprise to me.........I edited to add that I had 4 tests this week and am still waiting on results from NLN....midterm grades......interview for admittance to nursing school...so stress levels are high..that is why no surprise right now!
    Last edit by Robin61970 on Oct 12, '02
  9. by   RNinICU
    OK, I am just TOO happy. My score was 8. Or maybe I just don't have time to be depressed. Anyway, I hope you are feeling better soon. Maybe when you get over your illness you will feel a little better. Being sick always make me feel washed out and depressed for a few days. And the shorter days affect some people more than others. Sending happy thoughts your way.
    Last edit by RNinICU on Oct 11, '02
  10. by   frankie
    Duckie, You would know the feelings were more than just a few bad days, because, the feelings would not increasingly infringe on the persons mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual ability to function. A few bad days does not extend to a week or a month. A few bad days doesn't engage the person in much avoidance behavior (ex. the person experiencing a few bad days might watch a few movies over the weekend to avoid going out - a depressed person sleeps 14 hours a day over the weekend to avoid going out). Depression is a progressive illness. It gets worse over time. Your mind will not let up. The feelings become more and more everpresent. Someone with low feelings or blue feelings will have fluctuations of their normal self, and feeling blue, but they will revert to theirself intermittently. The depressed person will get worse and worse until they have isolated themself in the most odd ways. One of those people who is always alone even in the crowd. Hope you are not feeling too bad. frankie
  11. by   aus nurse
    Wise advice from theses guys Duckie, I can not add anything.

    Everyone has bad days..it is when those feelings don't abate that it becomes a problem. Frankie described it very well.

    Great tool aimeee
  12. by   Love-A-Nurse
    duckie, how are you? (((((duckie)))))
  13. by   nursegoodguy
    Duckie are you asking about yourself or someone else?
    You've been sick since you came back from your trip and probably not totally yourself yet. Just try to get some rest and heal your body... Also the change in seasons sometimes is a downer for some people... Keep warm and get some rest! Let me know if I can do anything for you.
  14. by   nurs4kids
    Duckie,
    Great advice above! As nursegoodguy said, following sickness it isn't abnormal to feel down, so I'd hesitate before I ran to a doc to seek drugs. A few months ago, following a long bout with otitis media, I hit a long stretch of depression. I had only been depressed one other time in my life. It's scary as heck! Anyhow, I gave myself time to get over being sick, kicked myself in the butt and made myself push away from the computer and get outside the house. Within a few weeks of pushing myself to exercise and not sit around and wallow in self pity, I got much better. Just now, I scored zero on the test..a few months ago, I'd have probably scored a thousand. Good luck, hope you have a quick recovery!!!

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