What Does “SIGECAPS” Stand For?
The SIGECAPS depression mnemonic is used as a screening tool to diagnose symptoms of depression. Each letter of “SIGECAPS” represents one of the eight diagnostic criteria described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
Here is the meaning of each SIGECAPS letter and it's associated depression screening questions:
S stands for Sleep.
- Are you sleeping more in the day or less at night?
- Because excessive daytime sleep and/or insufficient nighttime sleep are both indicators of depression.
I is for loss of interest in daily activities.
- Have you experienced a loss of interest in activities that you once found enjoyable?
- This is because a loss of interest in such activities is a sign of depression.
G for guilt.
- Do you have low self-esteem, feel guilty and/or have a sense of worthlessness?
- Depressed individuals struggle with feelings of guilt.
E stands for Energy
- Do you feel fatigued, a lack of energy, or “burnt out”?
- A common symptom of depression is fatigue and a lack of energy.
C for Concentration
- Do you have difficulty concentrating?
- Reduced concentration is a hallmark of depression.
A is for Appetite
- Have you lost your appetite, enjoyment in food, or are you bingeing?
- A loss or increase of appetite is another classic sign of depression.
P stands for Psychomotor Agitation or Retardation
- Do you feel so anxious you cannot sit still? Or, are you more lethargic and very slow in your movements?
- Increased agitation or much slower movements are signs of depression.
S Stands for Suicidal Ideation
- Are you preoccupied with thoughts of death or a plan to commit suicide?
- Suicidal ideation is the most obvious sign of depression and requires immediate treatment.
Why Did “SIGECAPS” Become the Mnemonic for Depression Screening?
The answer is that physicians once used the abbreviation “sig” to mean directions on prescriptions. And “Energy capsules” or “E” caps was the original name for antidepressants (University of Nebraska Medical Center). This is how the mnemonic “SIGECAPS” and depression became linked together.
Mental health professionals still use SIGECAPS (also written as SIG-E-CAPS, and SIG E CAPS) as a tool to diagnose depression. During an evaluation for mood disorders like major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, the SIGECAPS mnemonic is an effective screening test. A doctor can help determine if the answers to SIGECAPS questions are clinically significant or not.
SIGECAPS is just one screening tool for psychiatric disorders.
Now you know the meaning of “SIGECAPS”.
But, did you know that you can also use SIGECAPS as a roadmap to help depression naturally?
However, instead of only using sigecaps on a patient health questionnaire, you can use sigecaps questions to help your depression. Even without drugs or medications.
You can use the sigecaps mnemonic to help depression. But, this post explains how to use sigecaps to treat your depression.
You are in the right place if you are struggling with depression.
- What do you do when antidepressants are not helping?
- Even worse, what if you are suffering from the negative side effects of antidepressants? Such as:
- Loss of feeling in lower extremities
- Night Sweats
- Suicidal ideation
- Or you are using drugs for years and are still depressed.
Using the sigecaps questions as suggested below can help your depressed mood. I know, because I experienced all of those side effects, and needed to find new solutions. And using the sigecaps depression mnemonic as a roadmap helped me. I hope it will be of use to you as well. As always, consult with your primary care doctor.
Here are 8 Sigecaps Depression Solutions That Your Doctor Didn't Tell You
S stands for Sleep
Your first new habit to fight depression is to improve your sleep. A study found that 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks, whether the person took an antidepressant or a placebo pill. The study’s lead author told the New York Times:2“
The way this story is unfolding, I think we need to start augmenting standard depression treatment with therapy focused on insomnia.” Source Credit: Sleep Therapy as an Aid to Depression
- Make a sleep schedule for yourself.
- Commit to getting to sleep around 10 or 11 in the evening.
- Do not watch TV in bed or surf the web.
- Make your room as dark as possible.
- When you lie down, pay attention to the sound of your breath.
- Inhale and exhale.
- Think good thoughts, everything you are grateful for, and imagine a better future in all areas.
- Shoot to get a sleep of seven to eight hours.
- Continue to work on improving your sleep, it is that important.
Watch this video on the importance of sleep and how it affects your brain:
I is for Interest
Getting interested in something productive is the second step to fighting depression. You need to take up a new or old interest, something that gets you out of your house and out of your head.
A new interest does not mean trying all the flavors of Ben & Jerry vanilla based ice creams. Junk food is not entertainment and will never help you relieve depression. In fact, more junk food means more depression, as you watch the scale numbers climb.
I also stands for investment. The new interest to take is in you, yourself. And you need to invest in yourself.
Stop investing in the stocks of Nabisco and Doritos. What are you getting out of the processed food horror show, besides fatter? And the more fat you get, the more depressed you will be.
Start investing in yourself.
A fuel oriented nutrition plan qualifies as a new interest. At least you will be feeding your body the best nutrition possible. All these great nutrients will not only flood your body but your brain as well.
G represents Guilt
Non-stop guilt is a destructive force. Guilt is not an action. When you are guilty, you are not helping anyone, including yourself.
Yes, guilt is an excellent tool to prevent bad behavior.
But, if you already committed the bad behavior, the guilt now is not going to rectify what you did. To rectify what you did, you need to have sincere remorse and vow to never do that again. If you need to apologize to someone, then do it. When restitution of money is necessary, do it.
If they do not accept your apology or forgive you, the matter is out of your hands.
Excessive guilt eats up your insides. There is no end in sight when you lock yourself in the prison of guilt. Let yourself out of prison. Or have another friend, family member or mentor tell you that they approve of you.
Of course, you must forgive, love and approve of yourself first.
- I release the need to blame anyone, including myself. We are all doing the best we can with the understanding, knowledge, and awareness we have.
- Even though I struggle with guilt, I choose to love and accept myself anyway.
- I am OK and it is safe for me to forgive myself.
- Today, I choose to accept myself as I am and I choose to compliment myself and give myself credit for the good things I do.
- I am learning and improving every day, I am patient with myself, I love myself and accept myself as I am.
- The best path is to release any self-blame or guilt, I don't need those feelings anymore, I can let them go.
- I release and let go of all self-criticism.
- I forgive myself for being so hard on myself.
- You deserve the Best always.
- Abundance and joy is my right. I am good enough, always been good enough, and I do my best.
- I completely love and approve of myself as I am.
Source Credit: Based on the Teachings of Louise Hay
E Stands for Energy
Antidepressants are the last thing that will help with energy. The best course of action to increase your energy is to improve your nutrition. Feed yourself high-quality food, the best of the best.
Make sure that you have vegetables with most meals, at least twice a day, if not more.
Go for complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato, and oatmeal. Instead of higher processed foods like wheat bread.
Before using drugs which have known side effects, identify potential food sensitivities. Wheat, eggs, peanuts, and dairy can affect some individuals.
Wheat consumption can cause symptoms of depression in some individuals. First, remove all the toxic foods and habits from your life. And only then think of taking medications if you are still suffering from depression.
It goes without saying that you need to lay off of the junk food.
An excellent diet is going to help increase your energy more than antidepressants. Avoiding junk foods can boost your energy levels more than any antidepressant.
See how Ultra-Processed Junk Food can affect people. Obesity is no help for any person who wants to increase their energy levels.
A Simple Meal Plan for Energy
- Drink a tall glass of water with a real lemon wedge upon waking up.
- Have half a grapefruit before or with breakfast.
- Bowl of oatmeal, hot or cold, with water, 1% organic milk or cashew milk.
- Add berries and peanut butter (if you like) to the oatmeal.
- Boil a couple of eggs or sautee a vegetable omelet.
- For lunch, have some brown rice, black beans, veggies and turkey (optional).
- Have a fruit between breakfast and lunch and/or lunch and dinner if you are hungry.
- For Dinner, sweet potato, salmon and a vegetable, like bok choy, cauliflower or broccoli.
- If you are still hungry after all this food, have an apple.
- Establish regular meal times to train your body when to expect fuel every day. This will prevent body distress that can lead to depression.
A Strength Training Plan to Fight Depression
- Walk every day for 30 minutes.
- Start a beginner deadlift workout routine for strength and fitness on Monday.
- Do a push up workout on Wednesday.
- And a beginner squat workout routine on Friday.
- Rest on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend.
C is for Concentration
C stands for Concentration and Cardio
What can you do to improve your concentration?
- Focus on what it is that you must get done.
- Limit distractions like radio or tv.
- Work in a quiet atmosphere.
- Break up your task into manageable pieces.
- Establish a routine and stick to your calendar.
- Start a cardio program to burn your fat and depression.
A for Appetite
Follow the simple meal and workout plan above. This can help regulate your appetite. Do not punish your body for the anxieties of your mind. Think of food as fuel for your body and eat when you are hungry.
Stop snacking on junk food and focus on high-quality food.
The strength training plan will help to keep you moving. Building muscle and exercise is going to help your appetite.
Proper Nutrition to Prevent Agitation and Sulking
How important is good nutrition for depression? Let's examine the function of antidepressants.
Antidepressants increase serotonin levels. They block certain receptors from absorbing too much serotonin. This increases the availability of serotonin to your brain cells.
As a result, antidepressants are SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Because antidepressants prevent receptors from absorbing too much serotonin. Common SSRIs include:
Antidepressants are not the only way to increase serotonin in your body. Another way of getting more serotonin into your system is through food. Particularly food that contains tryptophan. In order for your body to manufacture serotonin, it needs a sufficient supply of the natural amino acid, tryptophan.
Tryptophan helps normalize levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. This can help with both depression and increased aggression or slowness of movement.
Which Foods are High in the Amino Acid Tryptophan?
- Eggs. The protein in eggs can significantly boost your blood plasma levels of tryptophan, according to recent research.
- Cheese. Cheese is another great source of tryptophan.
- Salmon. Have you ever noticed being in a better mood after good quality salmon? Now you know why.
- Nuts and Seeds.
Source Credit: Foods That Can Boost Your Serotonin
- Traditional milk products, yogurt, and soy milk
- Calf’s liver, chicken breast, turkey breast
- Halibut, cod, tuna, salmon
- Cheddar processed cheese, cottage cheese, tofu, gruyere cheese
- Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, avocados, pineapple, peaches
- Spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, eggplant, winter squash, and green peas
- Kelp, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and cabbage
- Cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumbers, potatoes
- Walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, chestnuts, almonds
- Ground flax, sesame, pumpkin, fenugreek, sunflower seeds (roasted)
- Mung bean, soybeans, kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeasBrown
- rice, red rice, barley, corn, oats
Source Credit: Foods High in Tryptophan
P Stands for Psychomotor
Are you feeling more anxious and cannot sit still? Or, are you more lethargic and very slow in your movements? Increased agitation or much slower movements are signs of depression.
Use a 12-week beginner deadlift program to get stronger and build your muscle and confidence.
S Stands for Suicidal Ideation
Antidepressants carry a warning label that their use might lead to suicidal ideation. You have as good a chance to prevent suicidal ideation with Sigecaps as you do with antidepressants. And the only side effect is getting leaner and stronger.
But, once you are at the stage of suicidal ideation, you need immediate help. Before calling the suicide hotline, there is one more suggestion, strength training.
Because improving the fitness of your body is going to help improve the fitness of your mind. Instead of meds which can only slow your movements, focus on getting leaner and stronger.
Start a strength training program which includes: