We all hit bumps in the road, those times when life just deals us one too many blows. We can find ourselves stuck in a depressive funk, totally losing interest in the things that usually bring us joy. We sleep more, but we feel exhausted. Generally, life just ceases to hold much meaning when we are depressed. Sometimes, in search of some relief, we might begin to consume more alcohol than usual. At first, the smooth buzz of a drink might offer a bit of a respite from the bleak mood. But the thing about alcohol is that it is a depressant. Alcohol is a sedative that suppresses the central nervous system, which slows down our respiratory rate and our heart rate. As many experience while intoxicated, you also might find yourself in a puddle of tears, as the effects of alcohol seem to unleash emotions. Maybe that response is related to the way that alcohol reduces our inhibitions and gives us license to let the tears flow. Whether alcohol use can make you more depressed is still out to the jury, but the effects of drinking can sure open the floodgates. Either way, if you are experiencing depression you should seek some help.

Do You Have Depression? Take the Depression Quiz to Find Out

Depression is a highly complex, and very common, mental health condition that science has yet to figure out. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 17.3 million of us struggle with a depressive disorder. Depression can have serious negative impacts on our daily life, even becoming debilitating. The earlier that depression is treated, the better. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depression quiz offers a quick snapshot into the possibility that you may be dealing with major depressive disorder.

It is based upon the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder in the DSM-5. Using a scale of 0-3 to answer the question allows you to know if you might be dealing with major depressive disorder. A zero indicates the symptom is “not at all” present, and a 3 indicates the symptom present “nearly every day.” When 5 or more symptoms are answered with a value between 1-3, it may indicate the presence of depression. The PHQ-9 asks:

Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?

1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
3. Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
4. Feeling tired or having little energy
5. Poor appetite or overeating
6. Feeling bad about yourself-or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down
7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television
8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed. Or the opposite-being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual
9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself

The Treatment Specialist provides the PHQ-9 depression quiz and a library of information on major depressive disorder.

Author's Bio: 

Marissa Katrin Maldonado is the founder of The Treatment Specialist an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families.