Find out how to identify signs of depression

Find out how to identify signs of depression. 

Depression can affect any individual, regardless to a person’s age, socioeconomic class, gender, or race. Reports yield that up to 12% of men and 21% of women will be afflicted by the abnormal emotional state at some point during their lives.

Identifying depression, whether this be in ourselves or in loved one, is not an easy task. Many people dismiss the pervasive negative emotions, brushing it off in an effort to not show others they are suffering. It’s important to recognize the causes and symptoms of depression, to help those we care about stay healthy and happy.

Causes of depression

There are many causes of depression, some are far easier to identify than others. It’s important to note that depression is never a choice, nor is there always a singular reason for the onset of mental illness.

Internal Factors: Depression is not always caused by a change in our external environment. Many times the onset of the mental illness is due to genetics, hormone changes, or sudden illness. If our body is enduring a great deal of physical pain, this can easily affect our perceptions of the world as well.

Major life changes: Major life changes can include moving to a new location, starting a family, or transitioning jobs. Even if the recent events in our lives are positive opportunities, sometimes our bodies’ natural reaction is to respond with distress to a major event.

Loss of loved one: Losing someone we hold close can trigger feelings of loneliness and lasting sadness. We may feel a hole in our lives that did not exist before the loss, and we grapple with how to mend the damage.

Conflicts: Conflicts could include issues within our close relationships, fellow employers, or family members. If we are at conflict with a person we care about or respect, this can lead to an onset of negative emotions.

Medication: People react to medications differently, prescriptions occasionally triggering a lasting mental illness. While medication can be helpful for treating physical and mental ailments, pills should not be relied on exclusively to alleviate the problem.

Symptoms of depression

Depending on the severity of the depression, as well as the uniqueness of the situation, each person will display different symptoms of depression. These are some of the common warning signs to look for.

Irregular sleep patterns: A person may begin sleeping far more than they usually do, spending hours lying in bed, refusing to get up. They may report increased feelings of fatigue. In some cases, depression will trigger insomnia, causing a person to have extreme difficulty falling asleep.

Loss of interest: Many of the activities a person once found to be engaging will no longer seem appealing. Hobbies, sports, and future goals will struggle to remain a positive outlet for the person.

Irritable Mood: A person with depression will experience a range of fluctuating moods. They become angered and upset easily, feelings of anxiety overwhelming them in certain instances. Agitation can be triggered by the smallest negative remark or inopportune conversation.

Difficulty Concentrating: The person will have a hard time concentrating during a task. Academics and work responsibilities will seem incredibly overwhelming. Difficulty concentration will also extend to social interactions with others. A person may shy away from situations that involve in depth conversations.

Feelings of worthlessness: Self-esteem often plummets during times of depression. The person may feel that they are not adding anything of value to the world, expressing their dissatisfaction with themselves. A person may negatively remark about their body, talents, or social skills. The individual will blame themselves for not being able to cope with the sadness, and feel guilty for imposing their negative thoughts on others.

Appetite changes: A person’s appetite will alter in times of mental illness. Some will report a complete loss of appetite while others find themselves constantly hungry, regardless to the time of day.

Thoughts of suicide or self harm: people battling depression express thoughts of suicide or self harm. If a person threatens to harm themselves, do not take this threat lightly. Approach them and ask who you can help, or contact a professional for further guidance.

*The goal of this week’s article was to explain how to identify depression, by understanding the causes and symptoms. Next week will explore how to combat the mental illness and options for treatment.

Adrienne Gagne attains happiness by continuously exploring uncharted territory. Her ultimate goal is to encourage new directions of thinking, not to sway others’ opinions to strictly align with her own....

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