FAQ: How Do You Know How Serious a Case of Depression Someone Has?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How do you know how serious a case of depression someone has?


Expert Answers

Kenneth Robbins, M.D., is a senior medical editor of Caring.com. He is board certified in psychiatry and internal medicine, has a master's in public health from the University of Michigan, and is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His current clinical practice focuses primarily on geriatrics. He has written and contributed to many articles and is frequently invited to speak on psychiatric topics, such as psychiatry and the law, depression, anxiety, dementia, and suicide risk and prevention.

If the depression is causing someone to be socially withdrawn, dysfunctional to the point that he or she can't work or do basic household chores, and the person is talking or thinking about suicide, that's clearly severe. If, despite a lack of joy and in spite of having the physiological symptoms of depression, a person is still able to go to work and follow his or her usual routines (even if not as effectively and efficiently as usual), then it's a milder case.

To evaluate whether someone has depression in the first place, a clinician looks at how many symptoms of depression the person is experiencing, and whether they've been present for at least two weeks and at what level of intensity.


Community Answers

Dklcal answered...

I HAVE SUFFERED FROM DEPRESSION AND HAVE DOCTOR WITH IT FOR YEARS. I STILL HAVE IT BUT MEDICATION HAS HELP SOME. I DON'T THINK ANYONE KNOW WHAT IT TAKE AWAY FROM TO YOU. I STILL CRY ALOT, AND I DWELL ON THINGS THAT ARE SAD, IT SEEMS LIKE I CAN'T QUIT STOP THINKING OF WHATEVER IT IS.

PRAYER, AND GOING TO CHURCH' TRYING TO LIVE MY LIFE THE WAY CHRIST WOULD HAVE ME TO.

THANKS FOR LISTING, dklcal


Hwood157 answered...

You don't. What you see on the surface is fraction of what the depressed person is really going through. Most of us hide it in a number of ways. Maybe that's where Darwins law comes in. The more intelligent the person, the deeper they hide it. If I were to look at me for signs, I would start at the IQ and then look at their schoolastic records. Bad grades but higher comprehension than most is a good sign of potential clinical depression.


Lojo83 answered...

Around this time every year, my husband deals with depression. This year is particularly bad. He is taking an antidepressant 3 times a day. He has been given some books to read. They are religious books and one is particularly helpful to him - "Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling" by John G Kruis. Being a religious family we take comfort in the Scriptures. He also sees our pastor who is helping him thru the difficult times. We also realize that he may have to seek help from a physchiatist. If your body is hurting you seek a medical doctor, and if your mind is hurting, you seek help from a doctor who can help you with that. Communication is a big part of our attempts to help each other. I can't help him or encourage him if I don't know what's going on in his head. My advice is to talk and encourage those dealing with depression. If you can't help them then encourage him to seek the proper help.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Not only are elder people affected by depression but so may young adults. With all that going on now adays so many pre teens and young adults suffer from this dreadful illness. Dr. seem to treat more the illness vrs getting to the root cause of the illness.~