Symptoms of Clinical Depression and Other Mood Disorders

How do I know if I have clinical depression or other mood disorders?

This is an extremely important question for you to answer if you are trying to find depression help.

Paul A. Wider, in his book, Overcoming Depression and manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder): A Whole-Person Approach , wrote, "...My healing might have never come if I had not eventually realized that there was a problem. I did have a certain type of extreme behavior--and thinking--and I did need help." (p. 18)

Different people experience clinical depression in different ways--They have different symptoms.

There are two clusters of mood disorder symptoms.

First, there are depression symptoms. These include...

  • feelings of sadness or emptiness

  • loss of interest and pleasure

  • irritability or anger

  • poor appetite

  • overeating

  • trouble falling asleep

  • trouble staying awake

  • sleeping too much

  • being unable to sit still

  • thinking, talking, and moving slowly

  • feeling tired for no reason

  • feeling worthless or guilty

  • trouble concentrating

  • thinking about death

  • thinking about hurting yourself

  • thinking about suicide
The second cluster of mood disorder symptoms are manic symptoms. These include...
  • feelings of elation

  • feelings of over confidence

  • irrationally believing you can accomplish extraordinarily great feats

  • an abundance of energy

  • increased activity

  • increased accomplishment and productivity

  • reduced need for sleep

  • loud, rapid speech

  • thoughts racing through your mind

  • jumping from one subject to another when talking

  • engaging in risky behaviors

  • reckless driving

  • impulsive spending

  • sexual promiscuity or increased sexual interest and activity

  • wild business schemes

  • overeating

  • drinking too much

  • feelings of irritability or anger

  • feelings of agitation

  • irrationally believing others are after you or are trying to harm you

Take Action

How many of these symptoms are you experiencing? Is there a pattern to how the symptoms vary and when they occur?

OK, it's time to take action. So get a piece of paper and write down the symptoms which you have experienced recently.

Then keep an ongoing daily journal of the symptoms which you are experiencing. At the end of each day, write the symptoms that you experienced that day.

Next, rate how severe the symptoms have been on a scale of from 0 (= not a problem) to 10 (= very severe problem). If you are able to explain why the symptoms occurred, make a note in your journal.

Ask yourself if the symptoms of mood disorders which you recorded have interfered with your life...or your ability to carry out normal daily activities. Write down your answer to this question.

Journaling like this can be helpful as you try to help your depression. The How To Transform Your Life E-Workshop explains how useful journaling can be to growth and overcoming problems.

Journaling also can help you plan what to do about problems. As your understanding increases...and as you actively work on changing, you will likely find yourself experiencing less depression and more satisfaction.

As you seek help for your mood disorders, The How To Transform Your Life E-Workshop can help you develop skills in coping with problems and making changes in your life. To learn more about the E-Workshop, click here.

If you are having several of the symptoms listed above severely enough that they are interfering with your life, you probably have a mood disorder. But let me caution you...Mood disorders such as clinical depression should not be self diagnosed.

As Donald F. Klein, MD, points out in his book, Understanding Depression: A Complete Guide to Its Diagnosis and Treatment , being able to accurately diagnose a disease such as depression requires more than just knowing the symptoms. It requires skill which comes from training and much experience.

If you have recognized symptoms which suggest a mood disorder you need to seek help from a professional psychologist or psychiatrist.

Continue taking action to help your mood disorder by contacting your family doctor, your minister, your employee assistance program, your medical insurance company, or a local hospital. Ask for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Then call and schedule an appointment. The psychologist or psychiatrist will help you determine if you are experiencing a mood disorder.

Often identifying the mood disorder is the first step in effective treatment and in successful self help.

What are the different types of mood disorders? To find out, click here.