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Question about Depression

  1. Sep 15, 2003 #1

    Simfish

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    If I'm depressed for 2-3 hours each day, for the past several weeks, then could I be diagnosed with depression? Or would I need to be depressed for the whole day?

    WHen I'm not depressed, I'm not in a state of mania, so that rules out bi-polar disorder. I could just be slightly happy, or not really exhibiting any true feeling..

    Answer to my question only, please...
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2003 #2
    Is it normal? There isn't a simple answer to a complexed question like that. Have you experienced any trauma in your life recently? Any life altering events? If you're asking a question like that, my advice to too seek counseling to sort it all out. I could make a summary judgement and say "yes" it is unusaul. But I don't have all the facts. there may be underlying reasons for your depression. Under a given set of circumstances, it may be completely "normal". Under another set of circumstance it won't be the usual. If it's been ongoing for a prolonged period of time, then seek further advice definitely. I would advise against self-diagnosis. I'm no expert, but that would be my advice.

    That being said there are several things that could help you such as paxil or wellbutrin. But only a licensed therapist can(actually should) prescribe it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2003
  4. Sep 15, 2003 #3

    Simfish

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    Well, it's a combination of events.. But my parents are tired of sending me to the psychologist, so I just would like to know whether this could be depression or not..
     
  5. Sep 16, 2003 #4

    hypnagogue

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    Simfishy,
    Based on your description, I think the closest diagnosis is Dysthymic Disorder, which is described as "prolonged minor depression without mania/hypomania." You can find the DSM-IV (the accepted criteria by which one may be diagnosed with Dysthymic Disorder) here. The first listed criterion is "Depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not, as indicated either by subjective account or observation by others, for at least 2 years. Note: In children and adolescents, mood can be irritable and duration must be at least 1 year," so you may not have been experiencing your depressive episodes long enough to be officially diagnosed.

    That having been said, the best course of action is not to try to perform a self-diagnosis but to consult a professional. I'm not sure off-hand whether a psychologist is qualified to make a diagnosis or if you would need to consult a psychiatrist. My advice would be to have a frank discussion on the matter with your parents and (if possible) your psychologist, especially if you feel the issue has not been adequately addressed to this point.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Sep 16, 2003 #5
    Well, i know where your coming from. My adivice, forget about therapists and drugs and all that jazz. Don't worry with whether you have depression or not. Ask yourself more meaningful questions, questions that will actually help you, questions that will help lead your life somewhere. If you want someone to tell you that "yes, you have depression" then ok, you have depression, anyone who wants to hear that has issues. If you're looking for an answer more along the lines of "no, you're fine, probably just going through some tough times, it'll be ok, feel better," then fine, in my opinion, you don't have depression, you've still got hope. I think you already know the answer to your question, you just want to feel validated.
     
  7. Sep 16, 2003 #6
    "Answer to my question only, please..."

    "could I be diagnosed with depression?"

    yes. (*should* you be, *will* you be, etc? i don't know.)

    "Or would I need to be depressed for the whole day?"

    no.

    "When I'm not depressed, I'm not in a state of mania, so that rules out bi-polar disorder."

    bipolar people are not either depressed or manic all the time. therefore, bipolar disorder cannot be 100% rejected from consideration. depression can change to bipolar disorder as late as the early thirties, though it usually happens at a younger age (such as the late teens).

    if you do decide that medication is right for you, see if you can find a doctor who only wants you on it for a short time such as two years max (as long as symptoms improve). that would be my advice.

    although highly unlikely, antidepressants can trigger bipolar disorder (or, at least, one manic episode) in those from whom bipolar disorder is in their genes. be sure to tell your doctor a complete family history. even if bpd is in your genes, it may never manifest.

    i would also suggest that you address this depression now since it has the potential, likely or not, to get worse.

    phoenix
     
  8. Sep 18, 2003 #7
    Phoenixthoth,

    Your answer is good, in that it is
    in accord with what most psychia-
    trists would say, so, without dis-
    agreeing in general, I want to
    pick a nit with your character-
    ization of the chances of an anti-
    depressant triggering a manic
    episode as "highly unlikely".

    Iam in regular correspondence with
    a couple dozen people who have
    been diagnosed as bipolar and
    the percentage of them who have
    reported that their first manic
    episode was triggered by anti-
    depressants is quite high. I'd
    say four of them for sure that I
    can think of off the top of my
    head.

    This is not scientific, I realize,
    and could be a fluke. So, I guess
    what I'm saying is that more
    digging into studies and statis-
    tics on this is in order.

    -zoob
     
  9. Sep 24, 2003 #8
    this may be of some help:
    http://www.vakkur.com/psy/mood_faq.htm

    it seems the worst problem is a bipolar individual in a depressive episode. it's apparently just as bad as someone suffering from a major depressive episode but the use of antidepressants run the risk of triggering a manic episode. when i say "worst problem," i mean that from the point of view of the medical practitioner. the hope is that antidepressants when combined with a mood stabilizer (e.g., zyprexa, some form of lithium, tegratol, and depakote) will prevent a manic episode while reducing the severity of the depressive episode.

    it's critical, it appears, that medication alone is not to be relied upon to relieve the symptoms. for example, if a bipolar person takes his mood stabilizer religiously but still does a few lines of ice to stay up for three days, then that's kinda like taking aspirin for the headache you get from banging your head against the wall. likewise similar to a person suffering from major depression religiously taking their antidepressants while still chugging the booze. btw, the depressive effects of alcohol last much longer than the initial buzz that lasts for only a few hours. often, one is not even aware of how depressed they are (or how manic they are, if bipolar).

    depressed people who drink (in general, take depressants) and bipolar people who take stimulants (including even caffiene, sorry, but especially something like speed or cocaine) are simply playing with fire. i've heard bipolar people say that caffiene affects them the same way cocaine did before they were diagnosed with bipolar except that the high lasts much longer (caffiene has a half-life of eight hours!). the same would go for a schizophrenic who takes a hallucinagen.

    another element in this is the distinction between thought disorders and mood disorders. there is such a thing as "major/minor depression with psychotic features" and "bipolar disorder with psychotic features." such people have elements of both a thought and a mood disorder. it can be difficult, sometimes, to tell the difference between someone who is bipolar or depressed with psychotic features from someone with schizophrenia. there appears to be a spectrum with pure mood disorder on one end and pure thought disorder on the other end. someone with a pure mood disorder never has hallucinations or delusional beliefs. i don't know much about how to characterize someone's mood patterns with a pure thought disorder. i suppose that's because it's hard for someone's mood to not appear irregular if they have a thought disorder.

    i've heard two rough criteria for distinguishing between depression with psychosis and a thought disorder and between bpd and a thought disorder. for the first, the person usually knows that the hallucination is a hallucination while someone with a pure thought disorder wouldn't know the difference. being of the second variety, i asked my doctor if i had schizophrenia. he simply asked if i had any friends. since i said yes, he said i don't have schizophrenia. didn't seem very scientific for i've known schizophrenic people who've had friends (but my sample group has only n=2 and wasn't a simple random sample).

    phoenix
     
  10. Sep 25, 2003 #9
    Sim, phoenix, zoob, others,

    All this information is helpful. BUT, I have a family member who is a physicians assistant, and highly regarded in her field(she's worked at the mayo clinic). From time to time I've asked her for advice on various ailments, symptoms, and such. Her final word without exception has been: Yes, it could be that, BUT the only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. Self-diagnosis from a book, or on the web is precarious at best. It's always a good place to start, but a lot of things have multiple symptoms, cross symptoms, etc. So you can't hope to figure out what's wrong based on webmd.com or the DSM. To illustrate my point, check out the similarities between Bi-polar, MPD)(multiple personality disorder) and borderline personality disorder. You'll find they share many symptoms in common. Point being, that without a full medical and family history, and someone who has years of experience at diagnosis, you're better to make a chart up from the DSM, and throw a dart, then to guess what's wrong.

    I don't claim to be a medical expert by any stretch. But I do know when to admit I don't know, and to ask the ones who actually do:wink:
     
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