Identifying Depression - Vital Signs That You Might Have a Case of Depression
Depression is a common illness that affects a lot of people at some point in their lives. It is a mood disorder that brings an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and sadness. The thought of experiencing depression might seem frightening, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that something terrible has happened. The symptoms and signs of depression are usually easy to identify once they appear. However, in some cases, they might be more difficult to notice which is why it’s important to keep an eye out for these signals every once in a while just to be sure you don’t miss anything.
Symptoms of Depression?
If you’re experiencing any of the following feelings and behaviours, you may be suffering from depression:
Feeling sad and empty for long periods of time.
Feeling guilty or hopeless about the future.
A decreased interest in activities you used to enjoy.
Loss of energy and motivation.
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
Sleeping too much or feeling fatigued all the time.
Feeling overwhelmed by life’s simple tasks.
You often feel like you have no reason to get out of bed in the morning.
You’ve tried to self-harm or taken antidepressants before.
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
What Causes Depression?
There are a number of factors that could contribute to someone developing depression, but they are not fully understood. When someone experiences depression, it could be linked to a number of things including genetics, stress, drug or alcohol use, relationship problems, childbirth, and previous experiences with the illness. It’s important to note that most people with depression don’t have one of these things as an underlying factor. In a lot of cases, it’s not entirely clear how or why one person develops depression while someone else doesn’t. However, there are a few factors that are known to play a role in developing the condition.
Genetics - Some people are more likely to experience depression than others, but scientists still aren’t sure why. It’s likely that the way a person is currently experiencing life is a key factor.
Life events - Certain events can trigger episodes of depression, such as a health issue, relationship conflict, financial worries, grief, or traumatic situations.
Biological changes - Certain changes to the brain, hormones, and proteins can occur during periods of depression. These biological changes are thought to be related to changes in the way the brain gets chemical signals from the body, known as “homeostasis”.
Psychological factors - Research has also found that depression is linked to brain changes that alter a person’s thoughts and feelings. These changes might be linked to a person’s current life experiences, genetics, or biological changes.
Types of Depression
A type of depression can be diagnosed according to the symptoms and causes found in a person.
Some types of depression are:
Secondary depression - This is a form of depression that is brought on by medical conditions or drugs.
Reactive or situational depression - is caused by a reaction to certain life events.
Major depressive disorder (also known as clinical depression) occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. People with major depression have more than one episode of the illness in their lifetime, and the symptoms are usually severe. The symptoms of this form of depression interfere with everyday life. It can begin at any age from childhood to old age but usually starts before the age of 40 years. People with major depression may also have physical symptoms such as aches and pains, headaches or digestive problems.
Bipolar depression - People with bipolar disorder might also experience depressive episodes and low energy.
Seasonal depression - A form of depression that comes with changes in seasons. It usually comes on at a time when there is less sunlight. People with this form of depression might experience fatigue, social withdrawal and hopelessness.
some other forms of depression include postpartum depression, psychotic depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Help for Depression: How to Get Treatment
If you’re suffering from depression, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with everyday life. This is perfectly normal and is often caused by what is known as “depression stigma” which can make people feel ashamed or embarrassed to receive treatment. However, there is nothing to feel bad about and there is a lot you can do to get better. Here are some ways to help yourself:
Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what you’re going through. It may feel awkward or like you’re ‘bothering’ them, but trust me when I tell you that you’re not bothering them. They just want to be able to help you.
Get involved in something you truly care about. Whether it is something you believe in, a hobby, or a social group that you’ve been missing out on, find something that you can get completely engrossed in. Some of these activities might include dancing, swimming, jogging, playing games e.t.c.
Exercise. While it’s important to have a healthy diet and to sleep, it’s just as important to have a daily routine of physical activity. Both exercise and daily movement can help to relieve stress and improve your mood.
Look after yourself. Try to schedule time for personal things like eating, showering, and sleeping. It may sound silly, but if you don’t take care of your body, you won’t be able to take care of others.
Keep a journal. Writing is therapeutic and can help you to process your feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, there is no harm in reaching out.
Talk to a mental health professional.
If you experience any of these signs, it’s important to take action and seek professional help. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get yourself in a place where you receive treatment, especially if you feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit that you need help. If you’ve been dealing with depression yourself and you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you can’t take action, it is perfectly normal and OK to reach out to someone who you trust. It might be difficult, but it is possible to get better.