Depression is one of the most widely known mental health conditions but there are many misconceptions about the way it can affect you that mean it is often missed. Keep reading to find out how to identify the signs of depression in yourself or those you care about.
Depression and Low Mood
The most well-known sign of depression is a low mood. People who have depression will often feel sad, even when there is no specific reason for them to be upset. Sometimes there is a trigger for depression, such as problems at work or the loss of a loved one. It is normal to feel low at times, but you should gradually start to feel better. If you don’t then it could be a sign that you are depressed.
Some people who have depression will be very aware of their low mood. You may find yourself crying a lot more than usual or even thinking about suicide because you feel so unhappy. However, other people might not feel like this at all. Some people who are depressed actually feel anxious or irritable rather than sad. You could also be experiencing other symptoms that might make you think than something else is going on. However, these could also be signs of depression.
Other Effects of Depression
Some of the less well known signs of depression can include:
- Anger or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating or finding it hard to think clearly
- Restlessness or agitation
- Feeling as if you are a bad or worthless person
- Loss of interest in the things you usually enjoy
- Not wanting to be with people whose company you usually enjoy
- Finding everyday tasks harder than normal or not being able to complete them
- Lack of energy or fatigue
- Sleep problems such as insomnia
- Changes in appetite
- Aches and pains
- Feeling as if your thoughts and movements are slower than usual
Although depression can affect us in so many different ways it can be difficult to recognise the cause of these symptoms. We often try to ignore our feelings or to hide them from other people and pretend that everything is fine. This can just end up making us feel worse especially as it prevents us from getting the help that we need to overcome depression. Taking that first step of seeing a doctor can be very difficult, especially when you are feeling depressed, but it will be worth it when you get the right diagnosis and begin to see the effects of your treatment.
Getting a Diagnosis
People who are affected by depression may experience some or all of these signs and the symptoms can be mild or very severe. If you think that you might have symptoms of depression then it is important to see a doctor. Depression may be diagnosed if you have been experiencing these problems for more than two weeks, but you can see a doctor before this if you need support. Treatment options for depression can include lifestyle changes, medication, talking therapies and CBT.