Depression: Warning Signs & Symptoms


I decided to write a post about depression because it is one of the most common mental disorders in the US. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 3 to 5 percent of adults are dealing with major depression at any point in time. Here’s what else the ADAA says about depression:

Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general. When these feelings last for a short period of time, it may be a case of “the blues.”

But when such feelings last for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities such as taking care of family, spending time with friends, or going to work or school, it’s likely a major depressive episode. Major depression is a treatable illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and functions.

Active Minds has a list of depression warning signs to look out for in yourself and in others:

  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Resistance to hanging out with friends; isolating
  • Pronounced sadness or expressions of a bleak outlook
  • Significant, usually quick weight loss or gain
  • Noticeable change in sleeping patters; sleeping all day or not at all
  • Excessive apologizing, even when they are not at fault
  • Distracted; inability to read or finish assignments

Beyondblue has put the symptoms into four categories– behavior, feelings, thoughts, and physical:

Behavior

  • not going out anymore
  • not getting things done at work/school
  • withdrawing from close family and friends
  • relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • unable to concentrate

Feelings

  • overwhelmed
  • guilty
  • irritable
  • frustrated
  • lacking in confidence
  • unhappy
  • indecisive
  • disappointed
  • miserable
  • sad

Thoughts

  • “I’m a failure.”
  • “It’s my fault.”
  • “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
  • “I’m worthless.”
  • “Life’s not worth living.”
  • “People would be better off without me.”

Physical

  • tired all the time
  • sick and run down
  • headaches and muscle pains
  • churning gut
  • sleep problems
  • loss or change of appetite
  • significant weight loss or gain

I would like to note that while many pictures depict depression to look like this…

depression1…you can’t always tell that someone is depressed just by looking at them. This could also be the face of someone with depression:depression2

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a depression screening questionnaire on their website as well as a “Find a Therapist” link. If you think that you  may be depressed you can fill out the questionnaire, print it out, and then bring it to your therapist.

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