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Understanding Depression: What Does It Look Like?

Andrzej Wilusz, 123rf stock photo

Tragic human losses stemming from depression inspire us to learn more about the illness with Dr. Michael Bordieri, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Murray State. He speaks with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good about what depression looks like and when to seek treatment.

Listen to the first part of our series: Understanding Depression, Myths, Causes, Treatments

Common signs of depression and what depression looks like

Depression is not just feeling sad, it's a cluster of symptoms that have a severe impact on one's life, this makes it challenging to diagnose. No two individuals suffering from depression look the same. But there are symptoms to look for:

Depressed mood: more depressed days than otherwise. A pervasive mood over a two-week period. Not a normal sadness or "ups and downs" but one that lingers

Suicidal thoughts: a common symptom. From passive thoughts of wanting the feeling to go away to more active thoughts of permanently ending the solution. Many individuals experience these thoughts and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides trained counselors to talk to someone with these thoughts: call 800-273-TALK and a trained professional in the area is there to listen and to give resources to help one through a crisis.

Lack of interest in activities: Individuals often talk about how they don't get the same enjoyment or pleasure in activities in their lives - from hobbies to relationships - a sense of withdrawal or narrowing in on the world is common.

Physical symptoms: difficulty concentrating, sleeping (too much or not enough), fluctuation in appetite

The best thing one can do if they are concerned about someone in their life is to reach out and to find out more. Bordieri says not being sure is the perfect place to start a conversation with a professional. One doesn't necessarily have to meet the requirements for full blown depressive disorder for one to get treatment or make helpful changes in life.

Dr. Michael Bordieri

Murray State University Counseling Services

Murray State University Psychological Center

Dr. Bordieri says he is bound by confidentiality when talking to patients and that professionals on the helpline are also bound by this rule. However, the one exception is when it comes to personal safety. "If you are really a risk to hurt yourself I would want to make sure you keep safe. That may involve letting someone like 911 or the ambulance know to come get to you to a hospital or letting someone know in your life to help make sure you are safe." 

This is the second in a series of conversations about depression with Dr. Michael Bordieri, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Murray State. Dr. Bordieri's contributions to this series are strictly informational and should not be construed as any form of psychotherapy, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Any health condition, including depression, should be evaluated and treated by a qualified professional in the context of an established professional relationship. On Monday, October 6, we continue to discuss various treatments for depression.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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