• Life can be hard sometimes. Feeling depressed at certain times in your life is normal. But if symptoms become overwhelming and last for lengthy periods of time, you may be experiencing clinical depression. If this is the case, seeking treatment can be beneficial.

    Think back over the last four to six weeks in your life. Answer the questions below to determine if you have had depressive symptoms.

  • Scoring

    For every question, give yourself points based on the following guide:

    Not at All0 points
    Rarely1 point
    Often2 points
    Frequently3 points
    All the Time4 points

  • 0-14 points

    If you have scored 14 points or below, it is unlikely you have any clinical depressive symptoms that are persistent and cause physical or mental problems for more than a brief period. Your symptoms may be due to situations that cause stress, the loss of someone or something such as a job, or having your feelings hurt by someone you care for. While you may not need to seek professional help, there are things you can do on you own to help you cope with these normal depressive symptoms. Eating a healthy diet, getting the right amount of exercise, and taking vitamins that promote a lifted spirit (Vitamin D) can be beneficial in combatting depressive symptoms. You may also want to incorporate meditation, yoga or other forms of holistic healing into your routine.

    If you scored between 15 and 28 points, you may be suffering from mild depressive symptoms. Your symptoms have begun to impact your life on more than a few occasions. You may be noticing yourself getting angry at situations that didn’t bother you before. You may notice you cry more than you used to or you are wanting to sleep a lot longer than normal. Your eating habits have drastically changed, either you are not eating or over-eating more than normal. You may even realize these symptoms are lasting for more than just a few days. Sometimes people think their mild depression is something they can handle on their own and that they do not qualify for therapy. This is not the case, however. In fact, this is the perfect time to seek therapy. By working with a counselor, you can prevent your depressive symptoms from getting worse. In addition, mild depression can be dealt with using many different strategies. Mindfulness activities, such as acupuncture, acupressure, meditation and yoga can all help combat depressive symptoms. You may also need a mild anti-depressant to help your brain chemicals balance.

    29-42 points

    If you scored between 29 and 42 points, you may be facing moderate depressive symptoms. You may be finding it more and more difficult to participate in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed. You may even be refusing to participate in some activities because you have limited energy and desire. Moderate depression can trigger low self-esteem and cause a person to get their feelings hurt easily. Moderate depression can lead to appetite changes and a drop in productivity levels. Personal relationships you have with family and friends are starting to suffer because you don’t feel like being around anyone. Or if you are around them, you are unhappy. Seeking treatment for moderate depression is necessary. It is difficult to overcome something like this without the help of a trained professional. Counselors can offer you a variety of treatment methods, including the most popular, cognitive behavioral therapy, to help you work through your issues. Medication can be a terrific addition to your treatment. Because your brain chemicals are out of balance, you can benefit from medication assistance to get them back in balance. At this point you will begin to feel like your old self again.

    43-56 points

    If you scored between 42 and 56 points, you most likely have severe or major depression. If you are finding that you are sleeping most of the day, not eating or overeating, and crying much of the time, it is important you get help today. You may even be having thoughts about ending your life or wishing you were no longer here. It is important for you to know there is help and that you can have a happy life again. Whether you call a national hotline, tell a family member or friend, or go to an emergency room, seeking help is your best option. Attending therapy and working with a doctor who can prescribe an anti-depressant is a wonderful way to begin healing. If you are feeling an urgency to get help, contact your local hospital. They have crisis workers who can speak with you and get you the help you deserve. Do not wait for your symptoms to go away on their own. Because the chemicals in your brain are out of balance, professional help is the first start. Once you are working with a professional and you start to see your symptoms subside, then you can add in alternative healing techniques to increase your odds of avoiding a depressive relapse. Call for help today. There are many mental health professionals who can offer you relief from your depressive symptoms.