How do I notice if someone is depressed?

Depression is often difficult to recognize, because it can show itself in many different ways. An experienced doctor or therapist often sees quite easily what is going on, bu how can you yourself check if you are suffering from bipolar disorder, or if someone close to you is depressed? In this article we try to make you aware of several alarming signals.

How do I recognize bipolar disorder?

There are different types of bipolar disorder. Often, a depressed person shows elements from the different ways in which it exists. These do not stand for different illnesses, but rather for different aspects of the same disease:

1. Depressed? The psychological bipolar disorder

The psychological signs of bipolar disorder are related to feelings: In the first stage of the psychological bipolar disorder, you feel unhappy, pessimistic, down, hopeless, and have no self-esteem. You have little to no hope when it comes to the future. You can often not even imagine a future. In the second stage, the previous complaints get worse, and every type of feeling disappears: you feel empty, as if you do not feel anything anymore. The centers in your brain for both positive and negative feelings have been affected. This is perfectly reversible if you look for help, whether or not this is done combined with a good online self-help program.

2. Depressed? The physical bipolar disorder

The physical signs of bipolar disorder exist mainly of an inexplicable feeling of feeling physically tired and exhausted, even if there, objectively speaking, is not a single reason to feel tired.

3. Depressed? The social bipolar disorder

In the social way of bipolar disorder's showing itself, you start to socially isolate yourself: you avoid contact with people because you feel bad or even worthless. You do not ask for help or even refuse help from third parties, even though you could use the help. You have the feeling that others would not understand you anyway, so you prefer to shut everyone out rather than being confronted by others not understanding you.

4. The manic phase of the bipolar disorder

At other times, you feel over-the-top euphoric, and you seem to have a lot of energy, rendering you unable to want or be able to sleep. This is the manic phase of the bipolar disorder. In this phase, you require medication from your doctor.

Online self-help program against bipolar disorder

A study by 15 Minutes 4 Me in 2011, published by the Artsenkrant, showed that the average participant who follows the online self-help program scores 77% better after one month in the bipolar disorder test, and feels over 40% happier after just 3 weeks. That is why online self-help nowadays is a worthy alternative for therapy in lighter bipolar disorders, or at least poses a good support for therapy in bipolar disorder.

Online self-test for bipolar disorder: am I depressed?

We developed a simple online self-test for you. If you fill out this test right now, you will know your depression score within a few minutes. This score can help you to, later on, evaluate how quickly you get better when trying to solve your bipolar disorder.

Paul Koeck, MD