Low mood, loss of interest in hobbies, low energy and poor concentration are just some of the symptoms that may be experienced in depression. When symptoms cause increasing impairment to day-to-day functioning and where even more concerning symptoms such as self-harm and thoughts of ending your life, this may be classified as possible severe depression.
One of the tools used classifying depression in medical practice is the PHQ9 questionnaire. This questionnaire is used commonly to check response or progress to treatment rather than a diagnostic tool. It is important to see your clinician if you are experiencing low mood for correct clinical diagnosis.
Management may be classified in the following fundamental categories:
Note: These points are not exhaustive, and management of any specific case does not necessarily require all points covered.
Self-help measures including lifestyle changes: for example incorporating exercise into your schedule and practicing mindfulness.
Therapy: This goes beyond having a listening ear. Therapists are trained professionals that are skilled in facilitating discussions with the objective of getting a deeper understanding of your concerns underlying emotional distress; your thinking patterns and behaviours. This process will hopefully get you to a place where you can handle your responses more effectively in order to live a fuller and happier life.
Medication: Sometimes termed ‘happy pill’. The Serotonin theory explains that common antidepressants called ‘Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors’ also known as SSRIs aim to balance the disequilibrium between happy hormones and sad hormones. Weather is theory is true or not – is still in question; however, what we do have is evidence-based research to tell us that it works! Furthermore, evidence shows that the combination with therapy, is even more effective.
Below is the PHQ-9 Questionnaire. It is important to interpret the results in your own personal context and with an appropriate professional. Perhaps take your results to your GP for further advice.