More than 300 million people globally have been diagnosed with depression, according to the World Health Organisation. Depression is such an illness that it kills people constantly from the inside. Some of us might not even be aware of it; even we are going through depression. However, there are some signs of depression.
Thus, this article will focus on these signs to help you or your loved one fight depression and address it. It dedicates to anyone suffering from depression and the current or aspiring mental health professionals.
What are the 15 Signs of Depression?
Depression can be a life-threatening illness if not treated at the right time. Therefore, we need to be cautious about it. The 15 signs of depression give you a broad idea of depression and how to treat them.
So, what are the 15 signs of depression?
- Feeling Sad
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Feeling Hopeless
- Feeling Worthless
- Aches and Pains
- Overeating/ Weight Gain
- Loss of Appetite
- Poor Memory
- Lack of Concentration
- Feeling Guilty
- Taking No Pleasure in Activities
Of course, anyone might experience some above signs of depression sometimes. For a doctor to diagnose depression, a certain number of these symptoms must be present for two weeks or more. So let’s look at the signs of depression in more depth.
1. Feeling Sad
Mood changes are widespread with depression, feeling sad or down for a long time. Some might say they feel empty, despair or unable to feel joy.
Moreover, sadness can be caused by several reasons such as bereavement, a breakup, or unemployment. However, some people will feel sad for no particular reason at all.
2. Suicidal Thoughts
Someone with depression might think about death and dying often. They might think about ways to end their own life, which is known as suicidal ideation. They may try to hurt themselves, which is called self-harm. A depressed person may even attempt to kill themselves in more severe cases.
Usually, when someone talks about these feelings, it is a cry for help and does not mean they will attempt suicide. However, it is essential to seek medical assistance if you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts.
3. Feeling Hopeless
It’s normal for a depressed person to feel hopeless, as if there will be no end to the sadness they feel. They might also feel helpless, like there is nothing anyone can do to make them feel better.
Also, depressed people feel like they have no other purpose left in their life, so suicidal thoughts can quickly become an issue.
4. Feeling Worthless
Depressed people can feel like they are a burden on others and generally have low self-esteem. They can feel like their life has no meaning and that friends or family would be better off without them.
Thus, this can lead to poor self-care, such as avoiding personal grooming habits like showering or putting on makeup. This can, in turn, make the person suffering feel even worse.
5. Aches and Pains
It can be common for depressed people to experience persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders such as diarrhoea or constipation, and unexplained aches or chronic pains from inflammation.
Moreover, someone suffering from depression can have inflammatory conditions or autoimmune disorders. These include- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.
6. Overeating/ Weight Gain
People might end up eating more due to depression to cope with negative emotions like feeling empty. Eating can also be used to curb feelings of boredom or loneliness.
Additionally, depression can also make people feel lethargic, so leaving the house is less common, as is exercise. Unfortunately, this combination often leads to excess weight.
7. Loss of Appetite
8. Poor Memory
Depressed people may not be able to remember things as well as they did before the illness. For example, they might not be able to recall things they said or did and might forget appointments.
9. Lack of Concentration
Having depression can interfere with your cognitive abilities. You might have trouble focussing or concentrating in the workplace or indeed on personal matters. People with depression may also find it challenging to make decisions, with even minor, everyday issues.
Insomnia means being unable to sleep well, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. As a result, insomniacs might stay up very late or wake up very early. It is considered one of the vital signs of depression. Moreover, if one has difficulty sleeping, it affects their personal and professional life too. They will feel tired the next day and wouldn’t be able to concentrate on work.
In contrast, some people suffering from depression may find sleep too much. It means they are sleeping for maybe 12 or more hours per day. As a result, they will likely find it very difficult to get up in the morning.
Therefore, experts recommend a healthy adult sleep between 7 and 9 hours per day, any more or less, and the brain performs poorly.
Those suffering from depression will often feel a loss of energy and find it difficult to work or perform household chores. Feeling exhausted or run down no matter how much sleep they get (or due to insomnia) means it is hard to find the motivation to do anything. As a result, depressed people often spend a lot of time resting.
Someone with depression might seem like they are often angry with others, becoming easily annoyed or irritated.
However, men are more likely to experience anger as a symptom of depression compared to women. It can be caused by inconsistent sleeping patterns, an improper diet, or feeling tired.
14. Feeling Guilty
People with depression often feel disproportionately guilty about things they have said or done, even events that have long since passed. It can, of course, be a normal reaction for people to feel guilty after saying or doing something they regret. However, those with depression will have persistent feelings of guilt that are inappropriate to the situation.
They might focus a lot of energy on their guilt, feeling bad about themselves for long periods.
15. Taking No Pleasure in Activities
It’s common for those with depression to lose interest in the things they used to enjoy. Hobbies like playing an instrument, drawing, or sporting activities no longer appeal.
So, they may turn down going out with friends or going on dates; it is also common to lose sexual libido.
Tips for Managing the Signs of Depression
Exercise works as an anti-depressant for some people. For example, studies have shown that high-intensity exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Have you ever heard of the term “runner’s high”? That’s what joggers report feeling after prolonged exercise.
Although, The exercise doesn’t need to be high-intensity. Experts say, low-intensity training sustained over time can be just as valuable. This activity releases neurotrophic proteins or growth factors that cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections that improve brain functions and make you feel better.
In addition, neuroscientists have noticed that, with people who are depressed, the hippocampus in the brain is smaller – this is the region that regulates mood. Because exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, this helps to relieve depression.
It can be, of course, challenging for a depressed person to get motivated to exercise; this is unfortunate as it is likely what the sufferer needs most.
Therefore, the best advice is to aim for 5 minutes of an activity such as walking, running, or bodyweight training (there are plenty of free classes on YouTube which require little to no equipment). Hopefully, that 5 minutes will become 10, then 15 and so on until you have a regular practice.
3. Spend Time with Loved Ones
If this is available to the person with depression, spending time with supportive friends can help lower loneliness. It’s good to talk about how it feels to have depression and distract by other topics.
Thus, if any of your loved one is showing signs of depression, you can help by offering understanding and empathy. Don’t exclude them from events; make an effort to go outdoors together and experience nature. Help to reduce stressors at work or home, or even help them make appointments with health professionals.
4. Abstain from Alcohol and Substances
It might feel good to drink at the time, but alcohol is a depressant, which means even a tiny amount can make you more likely to get the blues. In addition, excessive drinking can harm the brain and lead to feelings of sadness or fatigue, especially the next day with a hangover.
Similarly, consumption of illicit drugs. People who abuse substances are more likely to suffer from depression as the effects wear off.
5. Stress Management Techniques
It is about finding the proper techniques for the person suffering from depression; some find yoga incredibly helpful (plenty of free YouTube videos out there). Others find journaling or making art reduces their stress levels. The person with depression must be willing to try new things to find what works for them; half the battle can just be getting started, of course.
6. Watch your Diet
Your gut and brain are linked. Therefore, what let your body consume can have a real and positive correlation with the way you feel. People tend to feel better and have more energy when they avoid sugar, preservatives, and processed foods. Instead, eat a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, and grains. Try to limit consumption of caffeine, coffee, soda and alcohol.
7. Practice Gratitude
When you find something you enjoy, take a moment to give thanks for your body, the food on your plate and the roof over your head. Research shows gratitude can have lasting positive effects on your overall mental health. You can even write down five things you are grateful for every day.
8. Medication and Therapy
Talking to a doctor is the first step to assess if depression is the cause and advise on treatment plans. We should never forget that any treatment takes time. When it comes to depression or other mental illnesses, a depression therapist or a mental health doctor is the best option.
They have several techniques to take someone out of a depressive phase. This profession is highly demanding these days because people are getting more and more cautious about mental health treatment. If you are interested in starting a career in this field, you can enrol in our Depression Counselling Diploma. This course will teach you all aspects of depression and its cure.
Depression is not permanent. However, some people will always struggle with periods of depression throughout their lives. With the proper treatment and attitude, changing behavioural habits can lead to relief from depression for many. It’s about managing the signs of depression and seeking professional help when needed.
Thus, if you are someone who has most of the signs of depression as discussed above or knows someone like that, please get in touch with a registered mental health professional or share it with your dear ones instead of just keeping it to yourself.
On the other hand, if you want to build a career in helping people with their mental health, you can have a look at our Depression Counselling Course at Training Express.
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