Depression & Anxiety
Have I Got Signs of Depression?

If you have been feeling down, or out-of-sorts, your thoughts can easily turn to whether you are depressed or not. This first section will take you through the signs of depression and how depression is diagnosed.

However, whether you 'fit' the depression diagnosis or not is unimportant. If you are feeling so down that you need to do something about it, that is enough.

Usually, our clients report one or more of the following:

• Exhaustion on waking

• Disrupted sleep, sometimes through upsetting dreams

• Early morning waking and difficulty getting back to sleep

• Doing less of what they used to enjoy

• Difficulty concentrating during the day

• Improved energy as the day goes on

• Anxious worrying and intrusive upsetting thoughts

• Becoming emotional or upset for no particular reason

• Shortness of temper, or irritability

Not all people have all of these, and some have different signs, but if you are depressed, at least some of these will probably ring true with you. Only a qualified doctor or health practitioner can formally diagnose you with clinical depression. However, how they reach this diagnosis gives an incredibly important insight into how to treat depression.

Diagnosing Depression

According to the definitions of most medical, psychological and psychiatric bodies, there is a commonality in the diagnosis of depression. Most depression tests have a very similar framework.Almost without exception, clinical depression will be diagnosed if a certain number of feelings that are signs of depression are present over a certain period of time. Below is the 'official' guide for diagnosing clinical depression: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1994

A person can be diagnosed as suffering from clinical depression if:

(A) Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2- week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either

(1) depressed mood or

(2) loss of interest or pleasure

(3) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood

(4) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others)

(5) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains

(6) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day

(7) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)

(8) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

(9) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)

(10) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)

(11) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

(B) The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode.

(C) The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

(D) The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).

(E) The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Online Depression Tests

The online depression test listed below may give you an indication of whether your symptoms would be classified as clinical depression. Goldberg Depression Test Questionnaire at MentalhelpNet - this is one of the best tests we have come across.

Suggestions: You might reproduce this scale and use it on a weekly basis to track your moods. It also might be used to show your doctor how your symptoms have changed from one visit to the next. Changes of five or more points are significant. This scale is not designed to make a diagnosis of depression or take the place of a professional diagnosis. If you suspect that you are depressed, please consult with a mental health professional as soon as possible.

The Effexor Company offers a short quiz to identify if you are experiencing potential depression and anxiety symptoms: http://www.effexor.com/depression/symptoms-of-depression.aspx

This self-quiz is not a formal diagnostic tool. It is meant to help identify potential depression and anxiety symptoms. Only a health care professional can actually diagnose depression. Other medical conditions may cause similar symptoms. Talk to your doctor or mental health practitioner.

Depression and anxiety symptoms may not be just emotional, but can be physical too. The first step toward treating depression and anxiety symptoms is recognizing them and talking about them with your doctor or mental health practitioner.

Do I Have Anxiety Disorder?

Everybody worries or gets the odd case of butterflies in the stomach. But are you missing out on opportunity and happiness because of fears and worries? Is anxiety interfering with your life? While moderate anxiety can be limiting, severe anxiety can be crippling. Anxiety currently afflicts more than 20 million Americans, making it the most common mental illness in the US.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder [GAD]

Given the stresses of modern life, it is normal to experience occasional anxiety. However, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, suffer from persistent worry and tension that is much worse than the anxiety most people experience from time to time. The high level or chronic state of anxiety associated with GAD can make ordinary activities difficult or even impossible.

The main symptom of GAD is an exaggerated or unfounded state of worry and anxiety, often about such matters as health, money, family, or work. Although people with GAD may realize that their anxiety is excessive or unwarranted, they are unable to simply "snap out of it"—for them, the mere thought of getting through the day can provoke anxiety.

The persistent worry characteristic of GAD is hard to control, and interferes with daily life. Many GAD sufferers seem unable to relax, and may startle easily. In addition, GAD is often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension.

GAD does not appear suddenly; it develops over time. To be diagnosed with GAD, you must have had anxiety more days than not for at least 6 months. The anxiety must also be associated with at least 3 of the following symptoms:

• Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge

• Fatigue

• Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank

• Irritability

• Muscle tension

• Difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep

Symptoms will vary from person to person, and you don't need to have all the above symptoms in order to have GAD.

GAD Self-Screener

Are you troubled by:

Yes No Excessive worrying at least 50% of the time?

Yes No Difficulty controlling your worrying?

Yes No Persistent worrying for at least 6 months?

If the answer to any of the above questions is YES, then continue to answer the questions below.

Have you been bothered by any of the following for at least 6 months?

Yes No Persistent worrying for at least 6 months?

Yes No Restlessness, feeling keyed-up or on edge?

Yes No Being easily tired?

Yes No Problems concentrating?

Yes No Irritability?

Yes No Muscle tension?

Yes No Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or restless and unsatisfying sleep?

Yes No Anxiety interfering with your daily life?

If you answered "Yes" to at least 3 of these 6 questions, then it is possible you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a treatable medical condition. As only a healthcare professional can diagnose GAD, you may consider talking to your doctor to see if you do, in fact, suffer from this disorder and wish to receive help.

Adapted from:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington,

DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1994. (www.adaa.org)

Brain Breakthrough Approach

In addition to the usual psychotherapy approaches in assisting those with depression and/ or anxiety, we at Brain Breakthrough have access to the latest high tech instrumentation to accelerate the emotional release of the traumatic event history and beliefs formulated as a result of those experiences. We make use of EFT, EMDR, Color Therapy in conjunction with psychotherapeutic interventions, and a new and highly effective approach we call The Green Wave Therapy Solution which utilizes green laser lights with left/right brain/body stimulation combined with a millimeter of microwave energy. All of these approaches can release the trauma quickly and effectively.