Depression is a very complex mental disorder. The reason – its symptoms are not uniform between people. This makes depression a difficult disorder to diagnose. Most people do not even realize that they are suffering from depression. While signs of depression like feeling sad and hopeless are obvious, there are some subtle symptoms that are easy to miss.
When unpleasant feelings like sadness persist for long periods, one needs to determine if they are suffering from depression. Read on to find out the signs of depression and how they affect you and your loved ones.
Signs and symptoms of depression
- Lack of interest
Not enjoying the things that you used to love earlier? A sudden loss of interest from activities you enjoyed earlier such as playing sports, strumming the guitar or reading a book could indicate depression.
Loss of libido may also be a warning sign of depression.
- A negative outlook on life
Having a helpless attitude towards everything in life or feeling hopeless is a sign of depression. You may also feel worthless, self-hate and extremely guilty.
Depressed people also tend to pin the blame on themselves for all bad outcomes in their life, even if it isn’t their fault.
- Lack of energy and sleep problems
As stated above you stop doing things you enjoy. One of the reasons why this happens is because your energy levels drop. You will experience a constant feeling of fatigue, due to which your sleep quota could go up drastically.
Paradoxically, depression might also turn you into an insomniac or worsen your insomnia. Also, lack of quality sleep will make you very anxious.
- Fluctuations in weight and appetite
One of the signs of depression is change in appetite. Changes in appetite are not uniform, some may experience increased appetite and put on weight as a result while others don’t feel hungry as usual and experience weight loss.
- Feeling anxious
Depression and anxiety often occur simultaneously. Depressed people may experience the following anxiety symptoms –
- Breathing rapidly
- Heart beating rapidly
- Feeling restless and nervous
- Panic and dread
- Sweating profusely
- Muscle twitching
- Unable to focus on one’s thoughts
- Mood swings
Extreme fluctuation of your moods – angry one moment and crying the next – is a possibility in depression. These mood swings are not prompted by external environment changes.
- Substance abuse
To cope with symptoms of hopelessness and sadness, some people turn to alcohol or drug abuse. These substances can worsen the symptoms.
- Physical health problems
While depression is a mental health condition, its effects are not limited to the mind. While losing weight and fatigue are less severe physical problems of depression, there are several other physical signs of depression.
- Problems in the digestive system
- Recurring headaches
- Pain in the back
- Other conditions that cause chronic pain
Depression also increases the risk of these disorders –
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular problems
- Autoimmune disorders
Signs of depression in women
The signs of depression in women are very similar to those of men. However, the rate of depression is higher in women. There are also physiological differences in how depression occurs in women. Women may experience depression when they undergo hormonal changes during –
What causes depression?
Treating depression starts with figuring out the cause behind depression. A few common causes of depression are –
- Genetics – having someone in the family with depression increases your risk.
- Hormone fluctuations
- Chemical imbalances – Chemical changes in the brain can trigger depression.
- Traumatic events
To determine your risk of depression, you can consult a doctor through MediBuddy’s E-consultancy services.
Coping with depression
The first step is to identify its symptoms and to consult a mental health professional.
These steps can also help –
- Practise breathing exercises like yoga and pranayama. When your breath relaxes, so does your mind.
- Go out and socialize, even if it may be hard for you to do so. Connecting with other people can uplift your mood.
- Eating healthily. Stick to a balanced diet and avoid processed foods.
- Exercising regularly. A good jog or a weight lifting workout releases endorphins in the brain that make you feel good.
- Indulge in activities. Could be anything – playing cricket, reading books or cooking up a meal.
- Seeking support from friends and family if the need arises.
You can beat depression if you take timely action. For that, it is important to recognize the signs and to seek help at the earliest.