Are You Depressed?

Don't let your inner -- and outer -- beauty suffer. See if you're a woman with depression

Ever had a bad day? How about three in a row? It's enough to drive an average woman insane, right? Well, according to mental health therapists, "insane" isn't really the best word -- more like "depressed." Most people get a little down once in a while, but when it starts clouding your disposition -- even your appearance -- on a regular basis, it may be time to raise a red flag -- depression and women is amazingly commonplace. Scroll down to skip ahead and answer the first question about women and depression.

Big changes can cause stress easily, sometimes so easily we can tend to let it slide until it builds up and boils over. Often, others may even notice that something is bothering us. "Someone who is depressed may start paying less attention [to] and care less about personal hygiene," said Dr. Karin Sponholz, a staff psychologist at the University of Southern California. "They may take less time or care less about 'fixing up' their hair, their makeup, and how they appear (their wardrobe). People closest to the presumed depressed person may be the ones to first see the changes, especially if they are subtle."

With that said, Dr. Sponholz makes it clear that just because women don't feel like doing their hair or wearing makeup doesn't necessarily mean they're depressed (whew!), but be aware that any major changes in your daily habits could be a signal that something's wrong. More importantly, if you're increasingly negative, despondent or distant, you could be slipping into a downward spiral.

If you have concerns that you might be depressed, take our quiz to find out how serious it might be, and what you can do about it.

Scroll down to answer the first question.

Your Results

You seem to be going through a temporary slump

Everyone gets depressed on occasion; in fact, it's a healthy, normal feeling, especially after a crappy day. However, if feeling overwhelmed, overworked, helpless or under-appreciated becomes the norm for more than two weeks, or worse -- life starts to feel not worth living, you could be entering into a deeper mood disorder. "What we might expect to occur as a normal reaction to say a breakup...may be [considered] 'short term,'" said Dr. Sponholz. "But other factors may make it 'longer term,' such as if the person also is dealing with job loss, financial stress, recent death of a loved one, and abusing alcohol."

Pay attention to any concern expressed by people whose opinions you respect, and whether depression could be manifesting itself in a less noticeable way, such as a tendency to be a workaholic, over-exercise, over-eat or -drink, or even overdo it with plastic surgery or shopping sprees. Take time to relax and focus on your health and passions in life, whether it's through exercise, a hobby such as writing or cooking, or a vacation. And remind yourself not to stress about things that are beyond your control.

If none of these things seem to be lifting your mood, consider seeing a therapist (it doesn't mean you're "crazy" -- a major misconception, says Dr. Sponholz). Find a licensed mental health services specialist in your area.

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