Depression is one of the most common mental disorders that affect millions of people across the globe. It is normal to feel sad, lonely, or depressed some times. It is also normal to react to a loss of life’s struggles.
But when these feelings become devastating and last longer, they may prevent you from living a normal life. That’s when you need to seek help. You can visit your primary doctor who will test you for depression and help you manage the symptoms. If left untreated, depression may get worse and can lead to pain or even suicide.
The following are symptoms of depression:
1. Low mood
Depressed mood is common with people with both major and persistent depressive disorder. People with a depressed mood may feel sad or empty or even cry frequently. Having a low mood is one of the significant symptoms of depression. For children, they may appear more irritable.
2. Lost interest or pleasure
Another major symptom of depression is loss of interest or pleasure in things that one used to enjoy. A person having this symptom will show a diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all daily activities. This can include going out with friends, family gatherings, favorite hobbies, sports, or even sex.
3. Increased fatigue and sleep problems
Depression usually comes with a lack of energy and a feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most hampering symptoms of depression. Feeling tired most of the time can affect a person’s ability to function normally. Too much fatigue can lead to excessive sleeping. Depression is also associated with a lack of sleep. The lack of quality sleep can result in anxiety.
Even though depression doesn’t cause anxiety, these two conditions frequently occur together. Anxiety symptoms include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Nervousness, feeling intense, or restlessness
- Feelings of dread or panic
- Trouble focusing
- Increased or heavy sweating
5. Changes in appetite and weight
People with depression may have a fluctuating weight or appetite. However, this may vary for each person. Some people will have an increase in appetite and gain weight, while others will have a decrease in appetite and will lose weight. One of the indications of whether changes in appetite or weight are related to depression is if they are deliberate or not. If they are not, it may mean that they are a result of depression.
6. A feeling of worthlessness or guilt
Feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt are common symptoms of depression. The feelings of guilt may be so severe that an individual may start to become delusional.
7. Difficulty concentrating
Both persistent depressive disorder and major depressive disorder involve difficulty making decisions and concentrating. People with depression may recognize this themselves or people around them may notice that they have a hard time thinking clearly.
8. Suicidal thoughts
People with severe depression tend to have high thoughts of suicide. An individual who thinks about suicide often gives some signs to people around them. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize the warning signs and act on them. The warning signs may include
- Feeling sad, angry, rejected, ashamed, irritable, etc.
- Feeling worthless and hopeless
- Feeling guilty
If you think somebody is at immediate risk of harming himself/herself or harming another person, you should:
- Call 911 or the local emergency number
- Stay with the person until help arrives
- Remove any knives, gun, medications, or any other thing that the person may use cause harm
If you think somebody is contemplating suicide, the best thing to do is to get help from a crisis or suicide prevention help.
When to get help
If you have any or some of the above symptoms for more than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Recognizing that you are depressed is a bold step in getting the right help. Even if tests confirm that you are depressed, you shouldn’t be worried because depression is common and it affects millions of people.
There are various treatments available for depression; they range from medications to therapy to lifestyle changes. Regardless of the method of treatment you choose, seeking professional help is a crucial step in receiving treatment and going back to your normal life.