All of us, at some point in life, face sadness, loneliness, and depression. It is the rational way to react to life challenges, loss, damaged self-esteem, and heartbreaks. However, these feelings can quickly change from normal to real physical symptoms of depression, mental health, and stress, especially when they last longer, get worse by the day or prevent you from running your day smoothly. That’s when it’s time to seek medical help.
Your regular doctor should check for depression and mental health in order to administer the right treatment or refer you to an expert. Recognizing and accepting to be helped is key to proper recovery as most people never know they have depression and therefore never seek help.
What is Depression?
Like already mentioned, depression is characterized by longer-lasting hopelessness and despair. Depression naturally changes how you feel, think, and function in your daily activities. It can quickly interfere with your ability to work, eat, study, sleep, and see the positivity of life. Just getting through the day can seem overwhelming, and many people often describe this as a feeling of impending doom or “living in a black hole.” Others describe it as feeling empty, apathetic, and lifeless. Men may feel restless and angry.
However, its imperative to keep in mind that depression can quickly get serious if left untreated. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness should never be overlooked but do not necessarily have to be the reality of your situation. By understanding the source of your depression and knowing what to look for in the signs and symptoms, you can take the first steps towards your treatment and recovery journey.
Signs of Depression
While hopelessness and helplessness are easy to recognize, there are many other symptoms that may be less obvious and difficult to detect. However, it’s essential to note that some of these signs may also be signs of other underlying medical issues. If you have the following symptoms, it’s time to see your doctor and start a treatment and recovery plan.
1. Weird Sleeping Habits
Depression is characterized by a change in sleeping habits as there is a strong link to moods and sleep. Lack of sleep naturally contributes to depression, and on the other hand, depression will make it difficult to sleep. Based on a study by the National Sleep Foundation, people who don’t sleep or people with insomnia are ten times more likely to have depression than those who usually sleep. Consequently, oversleeping or sleeping too much can also indicate depression.
It’s not reasonable to feel excessive fatigue when you haven’t done any physical work. Extreme tiredness is one sure sign of depression. However, it may also be a sign of another illness or condition. While its normal to feel tired once in a while, persistent or continuous fatigue, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms listed in this article, may signal depression.
3. Weight Changes and Appetite
Diseases and conditions can significantly contribute to appetite and weight changes. However, eating too much or too little also signals depression. Some depressed individuals may turn to food for comfort while others may completely lose interest in food or have a bad raw mood to food, hence eating little. These changes in eating habits have a consequence of gaining or losing weight. Dramatic weight changes can exacerbate depression as they also come with lowering self-esteem.
4. Drug Use and Alcohol
Some people may turn to drug use and alcohol to help them deal with their feelings of loneliness, sadness, and helplessness. According to the report by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), around 1 in 5 people with anxiety, mental health, or a mood disorder like depression suffer drug and alcohol use disorder. Conversely, the same number of people who use drugs and alcohol are likely to have a mood disorder.
5. Loss of Concentration and Happiness
When a person loses their train of thought or trails off during conversations, it can be a sign that they have a problem with concentration and memory–a common symptom of depression. Hidden depression is usually displayed by a fake smile or forced happiness when in the company of other people. However, this may not last long, and people may begin noticing the change in happiness and concentration.
How and When To Get Help
If you realize you have various symptoms of depression, it is imperative that you consider seeking help from a healthcare professional like a psychotherapist or doctor or even loved ones. Excellent mental health is essential in helping you deal with depression as it will assist you to accept that you are depressed and have the will to seek medical treatment from professionals. If you are concerned about a loved one having hidden depression or slowly losing interest in almost everything they loved, you should try speaking to them while offering non-judgmental support and advise them to seek medical help. This will not only help hasten recovery but also reduce the risk of suicide.