To determine whether you’re clinically depressed, psychologists look for 9 signs and symptoms of depression.
Right now you’ll learn what those signs are, as well as why it’s important to not give too much weight to any depression diagnosis.
9 signs of depression in the DSM
These 9 symptoms of depression are listed in the psychiatric bible known as the Diagnositc and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is currently in its fifth edition.
If you have 5 or more of these symptoms most of the day, nearly every day for 2 weeks or more, you’ll be diagnosed with depression:
- Depressed mood or irritable
- Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities
- Significant change in weight or appetite
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
- Slowing of physical movements or severe agitation (like wringing your hands)
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Being diagnosed with depression doesn’t help
It’s important to appreciate that if you or someone else uses these types of symptoms to diagnose you with depression, this doesn’t do anything to help you or improve your condition.
If anything, it can make it harder to stop being depressed.
Indeed, as even psychiatrist Gary Greenberg observes, “being told that you are mentally ill can really mess with your head”. (Manufacturing Depression, p. 241).
Think about it: when you start thinking of yourself as being depressed, you feel more anxious and insecure about your situation, you naturally feel weak, sick, defective, or broken in some way, and you can be afraid that you are stuck with a terrible condition.
In other words, you feel a lot worse about yourself and your situation, which naturally makes you more depressed and makes it harder to get rid of depression.
See yourself as capable, not depressed
You don’t have to see yourself as depressed, just because you or a person in a white lab coat has diagnosed you with depression. Instead, you can see yourself as fully capable of becoming and remaining depression-free.
Just as it’s perfectly valid to see a glass as half empty or half full, it’s perfectly valid to see yourself as someone who has depression, or someone who can become happy and get rid of depression for good.
The difference is that the first view is a negative view that works against you, while the second view is a positive view that gives you more confidence, raises your self esteem, and makes you feel better about yourself and situation.
And this helps you get rid of depression, which is exactly what you want.
See evidence you can eliminate depression
From this moment forward, stop wasting any time seeing yourself as depressed or searching for signs of depression, which works against you.
Instead, see yourself as fully capable of eliminating depression, and appreciate all the evidence that proves you can become happier and depression-free.
- You can learn strategies for eliminating depression (indeed, you’re learning a strategy right now)
- Thousands of people have overcome depression, and if others can do it, you can, too
- You can learn how to change your thinking to get rid of depression faster (in fact, at this very moment you’re learning a very powerful way of changing your thinking to become depression-free faster)
- You’ve been happy before in your life, so you’ve proven that you can be happy
- You can improve your lifestyle to make it easier to become and remain depression-free (for example, you can improve your diet, get plenty of exercise, sunlight, and sleep, and so on)
- You’re taking a course that teaches you step by step how to get rid of depression faster and easier than most people
Change your thinking & overcome depression faster
The biggest thing you will learn in this course is that changing your thinking is the most powerful and effective way to eliminate depression.
By no longer seeing yourself as depressed, and instead seeing yourself as fully capable of eliminating depression, for the types of reasons listed above, you will become depression-free faster and easier.
So be sure to make this very powerful change in your thinking right now.
Next: What Causes Depression? →
You are here:
Section 1 Lessons:
- What is depression?
- How to know if you’re depressed: 9 symptoms of depression