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Compass B al an ce MOOD SHIFT Summer is supposed to be light and fun, but for those suffering from a mood disorder like depression, it can feel as bleak as a grey, snowy winter day. But how do you distinguish going through a rough patch from true depression? Here are 10 signs that a down mood requires some attention. TIPS BY DR. CHRISTOPHER L A RICHE, MD 1. 2. 3. You’ve been feeling down, tearful, emotional or just low every day for at least 2 weeks. The inability to experience pleasure is an important hint that there may be a mood disorder afoot. 4. 5. You start to sleep less — or noticeably more. Insomnia happens nearly every day. 6. You have a loss of energy that goes beyond the normal “I’m beat” — there’s a marked decrease in what you’re able to do during the day. You can’t concentrate on things that weren’t a problem before. You need to take notes in a meeting because you’re hopelessly distracted. Your reading comprehension plummets. You can’t make a decision for the life of you. Recurrent feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem or excessive guilt could yield a recipe for depression. 7. 8. 9. 10. Doubting yourself and decisions you’ve made or are making. Recurrent thoughts about death, suicide, plans for death, wills and your funeral. If depression runs in your family, you may be genetically prone to a mood disorder. You had a childhood filled with traumas from abuse to neglect. These issues can rear their head in adulthood as depression. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Christopher La Tourette La Riche, MD, is the Medical Director at Lucida Treatment Center. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach County, Lucida Treatment Center combines comfort with sophisticated, evidence-based treatment for addiction and mental health issues; LucidaTreatmentCenter.com. › 32