Mental health professionals rely on a number of screening tools to accurately diagnose depression. Here’s a peek at the questions they ask — so you can assess your own risk.
Not everyone experiences the same warning signs of depression, according to a just-published article on EverydayHealth.com. Some people may endure sadness, hopelessness, feelings of guilt; others may lose interest in their favorite activities, have trouble thinking clearly, or face fatigue and changes in their sleeping or eating patterns.
“Diagnosing depression requires a complete history and physical exam,” says Richard Shadick, PhD, associate adjunct professor of psychology and director of the counseling center at Pace University in New York City. Doctors must also rule out medical problems such as thyroid disease and consider coexisting emotional health issues like anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress, and substance abuse.
What goes into a depression screening? “There are many types of depression scales and depression screens,” explains Shadick. “The questions asked look for common symptoms as well as how much these symptoms might be affecting a person’s ability to function and maintain relationships.”
Too often, hostile environments at school and at home make gay and lesbian adolescents depressed. Dr. Richard Shadick, director of Pace’s NYC Campus Counseling Center, suggests how teens in the LGBT adolescent scene can find the emotional support they need.
A recent National School Climate Survey of 7,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) students, ranging in age from 13 to 21, found that 80 percent had been verbally harassed, 40 percent physically harassed, 60 percent felt unsafe at school, and one in three had missed a day of school in the last month due to fear of violence.
Given these struggles, it’s no surprise that a LGBT teen may experience depression.
“Family members and friends can provide needed support for a loved one who might be depressed,” advised Richard Shadick, PhD, director of the Counseling Center and an adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University in New York City, in an interview with EverydayHealth.com. “Warning signs include a change in how a gay teen relates (they become withdrawn and isolated), how they look (they may become unkempt, sad, or dispirited), or how they act (they may give away prize possessions, talk of wanting to die, and/or engage in impulsive and dangerous behavior). They may also drink or use drugs heavily. And if a teen has a family member that has died because of suicide or they have tried to kill themselves before, then there should be extra concern,” said Shadick.
Click here to read more of the article – “Why Are So Many Gay Teen Depressed?” – which appears on EverydayHealth.com, a leading provider of online health solutions with more than 28 million monthly unique visitors.
The Numbers Behind Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is more than just a passing fad. “Studies suggest that between 17 and 60 percent of teens are the victim of some form of cyberbullying,” says Richard Shadick, PhD, a psychologist and director of the Counseling Center at Pace University in New York. “Rates differ based upon the age of the teens studied and how frequently they use the Internet. Older teens who use the Internet more frequently have higher rates. However, there is agreement that cyberbullying has increased in recent years.”
Though bullying in school is not new, the methods now include harassment online, and in all forms of digital communication –http://www.everydayhealth.com/back-to-school/cyberbullying-and-kids-safety.aspx
“Although the risks of cyberbullying are similar to non-electronic forms of bullying, there are some important differences, ” notes Pace’s Dr. Richard Shadick.
“There are the traditional risks such as psychological symptoms that may impair a teen’s ability to function at school or work or interact with classmates, friends, and family, ” said Dr. Shadick. “Unique risks are victims may not know the bully (due to the anonymity of the internet), that there is not a direct physical effect (no immediate physical harm is present), and the bullying may spread quickly to a large number of third parties (for example, an email sent out to many recipients or something posted on a blog that is read by many people).”