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October is Depression Education and Awareness Month. People are often curious as to what depression is and how to help themselves or their loved ones understand and support them.  How common is depression? The World Health Organization estimates that 280 million people worldwide have depression.  

What does depression look like? The truth is, it does not have one look. Those experiencing clinical depression may seem “normal” because they don’t look sad. Conversely, someone may be sad at the moment and not be experiencing clinical depression. How someone looks is not an indication of whether they are clinically depressed. 

How do you know if you or someone you know is depressed? Sometimes you may feel down, but this does not automatically mean you are clinically depressed. To better understand what is happening, it is important to see a licensed professional who can diagnose clinical depression. To better understand this, the National Alliance on Mental Illness outlines the symptoms the licensed professional will ask about here.  

Types of depression diagnoses. Depressive disorders vary and affect people differently. The list below provides you with the types of diagnoses that may be discussed depending on the situation. A licensed professional would be able to help you understand if you have depression and which of the following types apply to you: 

  • Mild, moderate, or major depressive disorder 
  • Persistent depressive disorder 
  • Bipolar depression 
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) 
  • Types specific to childbearing persons include Perinatal and Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) 

If you or someone you know may be dealing with depression, help is available. You can start by using free screening tools to get an idea about how you have been feeling. However, this is not a diagnosis. If you believe you are suffering from depression, you should contact your primary care physician. You can also learn more about our well-being and mental health services and contact us today to learn more about how we at Focused Solutions can help you navigate these challenges together.