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How to Recognize Signs of Depression

Depression is different for everyone, but there are telling signs that can help you recognize whether you or a loved one is depressed. Find out more.

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Signs of Depression

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Determining Depression

Everybody experiences feeling down from time to time; it is an entirely normal part of life. However, sometimes the feelings of hopelessness and despair seem to stick around as an almost permanent fixture, and this could be a telling sign that someone is struggling with depression.

Depression is undoubtedly more than simply feeling sad about setbacks – it changes how people think, feel, respond, and function in their everyday lives. Major depression can have a negative impact on work, schooling, eating, sleeping, and socializing. 

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a simple depression test, and individuals experience this mental health issue in highly different ways. Some may feel like they are lifeless or apathetic. Others get an impending sense of doom. However depression is experienced by the person, if it is left untreated, it can become a life-threatening health condition. 

It is important to remember that depression isn’t the reality of the situation, and it can be treated with innovative medical processes and therapy sessions. The most important thing is knowing how to recognize the signs of depression so that you, or a loved one, can seek help at the earliest opportunity.

Symptoms of Depression

As mentioned, everyone experiences depression in their own way. The signs of depression will also vary according to how severe it is. In general, however, these are the most commons signs to keep an eye out for:

Feelings of Hopelessness

Depression is a major mood disorder that affects people’s outlook on life. The most common symptom of depression is a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that nothing can be done to improve the situation. It is also usually accompanied by a sense of worthlessness or misdirected self-guilt. These feelings could be vocalized along the lines of “It’s all my fault,” or “Why should I even try.” etc.

Complete Loss of Interest

Depression often sucks the joy or pleasure out of activities that people are passionate about. Major depression can present itself through a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities like sports, hobbies, and socializing. Decreased sex drive is also a common indicator that someone is struggling with depression, and it could even show through impotence.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

Sometimes, people lose interest in enjoyable activities simply because they are exhausted. Major depression often brings a lack of energy and overwhelming fatigue with it. This often leads to excessive sleeping hours, and it can be incredibly debilitating to the person struggling with it. 

On the other hand, some individuals may experience depression alongside insomnia. Insomnia can be a symptom of depression, and depression can be a symptom of insomnia — one thing is for sure: when these two conditions are experienced, they exacerbate each other. 

Anxiety or Restlessness

Depression and anxiety generally go hand in hand. It is particularly common in those that are struggling with depression and insomnia. Anxiety will present itself through restlessness, feelings of impending doom, higher heart rate, trembling, loss of concentration, and excessive sweating.

Appetite and Weight Changes

Major depression affects the appetite and weight of those afflicted, but this will vary according to individuals. Some people might have an increased appetite followed by rapid weight gain, while others may lose their appetite and lose weight quickly.

Weight fluctuations of 5% or more of body weight a month without meaningful intention could be a telling sign of depression.

Anger and Irritability

People struggling with depression often feel agitated. Their tolerance for things that they could easily handle before is very low. Tempers tend to be short, and even the most seemingly innocuous things can get on their nerves.

Uncontrollable Emotions

As mentioned, individuals struggling with depression can be irritable, angry, and restless — they also struggle to keep their emotions under control. This could present itself in angry outbursts, violent behavior, excessive crying, and much more. 

Reckless Behaviors

People with depression will often engage in escapist behaviors to try and get out of their own minds. This could be anything from drug and alcohol abuse to gambling, reckless driving, and other behaviors that could put themself, or others, in danger.

Physical Pain and Discomfort

Although depression is a mental health disorder, it often presents itself alongside physical aches, pains, and other health disorders. Headaches, body aches, back pain, and sore stomach are some of the most common symptoms. 

Self-Harm or Talking About Death

Perhaps the most telling sign of depression is self-harm or talking about death and suicide. Of course, there is a strong link between suicide and depression, but there are clear signs to keep an eye out for. These could include things like obsessing over death, talking about suicide, suicide attempts, reckless behaviors, talking about being trapped, etc.

It is important to seek help immediately if someone that struggles with depression suddenly seems to have their affairs in order, is phoning all their loved ones, or is suddenly happy and calm. These could be major indicators that the person is seriously considering suicide.

Variations of Depression Symptoms

Of course, depression is something that people experience in completely different ways. However, there is a link between the signs of depression and how people of different ages and genders experience them:

  • Men: Men who struggle with depression are less likely to acknowledge emotional aspects like self-loathing or hopelessness. Instead, they generally show signs such as irritability, sleep issues, loss of interest, and they are more likely to act out aggressively or engage in reckless behaviors like substance abuse.
  • Women: Women tend to struggle with excessive self-guilt or loathing. Weight changes are incredibly common, with overeating and weight gain being particularly symptomatic of depression. Of course, depression is also impacted by the extreme hormonal changes women go through during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
  • Teens: Irritability, moodiness, and excessive sleeping are common in teens with depression. They may complain of physical symptoms like stomach and headaches to get out of activities like sports and school. They could also isolate themselves from friends and family.
  • Older Adults: Older adults generally struggle more with physical symptoms. Aches, pains, fatigue, and memory problems are common. They could also begin to neglect personal hygiene, appearance, and health.

Get Help

People that are struggling with mild depression might not need to seek professional treatment, but in many cases, the support of family and friends simply isn’t enough. It’s essential for anyone struggling with major depression to seek the treatment they need to manage the mental health disorder.

Often, individuals suffering from depression will turn to drugs and alcohol to mitigate their mental health disorder symptoms. This can quickly lead to addiction, and this, in turn, exacerbates the depression.

Addiction Rehab Treatment has medical professionals on hand to chat to you and help guide you to a tailored treatment plan to help treat depression and co-occurring substance abuse.

Get in touch with us if you think you, or a loved one, might be struggling with depression or any other mental health disorder. We are here to offer the best treatment to ensure that individuals struggling with depression and co-occurring addiction can get back on the path to a healthy life where they can reach their full potential.

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