Depression and Other Conditions Mimicking it


Q: I have a feeling I may suffer from depression, I noticed that I was sleeping much less than normal and waking up in frequently during the night so was trying to find a better way of getting to sleep when I saw something about depression. I've taken lots of tests over the internet, all of which have come back saying that I have a 'moderate-serious mental health issue' and should seek help immediately. I don't feel comfortable talking to my parents about it yet as I don't know if I'm just being silly, and it's hard for me to see a GP without my parents knowing. I've always had mood swings, being really happy one minute but angry and irritated the next, but over the past 6 months - a year I've noticed that I'm sleeping much less and waking up during the night, overeating and putting on weight rapidly, having a lack of concentration, feeling alone, different or like there's no one to talk to, generally feeling low throughout the day, paranoia (every time I get on my bus I seem to think that another girl is out to make my life hard, but then it sounds stupid as soon as I get off the bus!) plus considering stopping hobbies that I used to be obsessed with. When I first saw the symptoms of depression I matched most of them, but I'm not sure if it's just been playing on my mind and sort of making me think that I've got depression. I also seem to be in denial, is there any way that I could have depression? and if so, what should I do?


A:   Yes, it is very possible that you are at an early stage of major depression. Most of the symptoms you are having (sleeping problems, unfounded fears or paranoia, unable to concentrate) are consistent w/ depression. Stressors can trigger these episodes. However, in patients who have symptoms of depression, thyroid problems should be ruled out first before depression can be diagnosed. Hypothyroidism (decreased thyroid function) can also present with very similar symptoms. Better get checked by a doctor to be sure. It’s up to you if you want to tell your parents about this problem. It is also possible you have some unresolved anxiety issues. If you want to go to your doctor alone, you may do that too. Doctors are legally bound to patient confidentiality; you may consult your doctor and ask him/her not to tell your parents, the only exception to this rule is the scenario wherein a patient will be a threat to others or to self. I do hope I have answered your question. I wish you well always.

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