It’s normal to feel down from time to time – the ups and downs of life affect every person on the planet. But when the emotions like despair or hopelessness set in, they could impact every aspect of your life. In this situation, you should be proactive about identifying depression to find the right strategies for your personal needs.
Recognizing the warning signs of depression is not only vital for yourself, but you can also use this information to identify depression in loved ones. This article can help you with identifying depression. Then, it’s best to seek a professional diagnosis and treatment right away.
The symptoms of depression fall into three categories: emotional, physical, and mental. Here are a few signs to watch for:
Emotional Signs of Depression
Depression has an undeniable impact on your emotions, then causes a domino effect on the mental and physical symptoms. Overwhelming and persistent feelings of sadness are the most widely known symptom of depression.
It’s also common for people to experience anxiety as well. As the depressive thoughts start to spiral, you might feel a loss of hope. This experience can make people feel like there is no way out of the dark hole they are experiencing.
Sometimes, people with depression have a hard time sleeping or relaxing. Since their emotions are high, it’s challenging to find peace or sit still.
Emotional signs of depression include:
- Low mood
- Persistent sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Ongoing pessimism
- Feelings of worthlessness
Mental Signs of Depression
The underlying emotional signs of depression can contribute to the mental symptoms that often appear. When the emotions are so heavy, it results in mental challenges that stop a person from living their life to the fullest.
Someone who is depressed might not want to do anything or see anyone. Social interactions can feel like an obligation or burden. When you are identifying depression, pay attention to the way social activities change. If a person stops spending time with friends and family, it’s a warning sign that something is happening.
The mental challenges can cascade to make it difficult for the person to perform tasks or think clearly. When depression is severe, it can result in suicide ideation or other unwanted thoughts.
These are a few of the most common mental signs of depression:
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty performing daily activities
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Unable to make decisions
- Inability to remember things
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide
Physical Signs of Depression
As the emotional and mental symptoms worsen, the ongoing stress takes a toll on the physical body. Depression feels physically exhausting for many people, making it hard to get out of bed or get through the day. As the physical responses slow, you might notice a difference in the person’s reaction times and responses.
One of the most common physical signs of depression is difficulty sleeping. As the sleeping patterns are disrupted, it contributes to physical fatigue as well.
Many people find that their appetite changes because of depression. Sometimes, the appetite reduces, and food is no longer appealing. Other times, a person uses food as a coping mechanism to numb their feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Unfortunately, emotional eating can take a toll on physical health, resulting in changes in blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and more.
The stress and tension of depression affect major organs and every part of the body. As a result, some people with depression seek medical treatments for relief. But the only way to reduce these physical symptoms is by also treating the depression simultaneously.
The physical signs of depression vary from patient to patient. Here is an overview of the most common physical symptoms you might notice when identifying depression:
- Slower movements and response times
- Decreased energy
- Problems sleeping, either insomnia or oversleeping
- Weight changes
- Loss of appetite
- Increase in appetite due to emotional eating
- Increased heart rate
- Digestive issues
- Chronic pain
One way to determine if physical symptoms are related to depression is if these symptoms respond to medical treatment. If your medical doctors are unable to decide on an accurate diagnosis, then mental health could be the root of these symptoms. Or, if you are going through medical treatments without success, then it might be time to address depression.
Identifying Depression So You Can Get Help
Don’t be afraid of what a depression diagnosis means in your life. Identifying depression is often a turning point for many people. When you recognize the signs and seek professional help, then you can access medical treatments that turn your life around.
If you identify any of the signs of depression listed above, then the best thing you can do is tell your doctor. Take a proactive approach to get an accurate diagnosis so you can find the right treatment plan to match your lifestyle.
When Do You Need Professional Help?
Mild cases of depression can turn around with basic lifestyle changes, such as exercise, better sleeping habits, and a change in diet. But if depression is progressing, then it’s always best to seek professional help.
How do you know when it’s time to talk to a therapist or professional health care provider? These indications show that you will benefit from a diagnosis and professional treatment plan:
- Difficulty completing daily activities
- Inability to cope with ongoing life responsibilities
- Withdraw from social interactions
- No longer participating in favorite activities
- Unable to get out of bed in the morning
The good news is that help is available. Talk to a therapist, and you can access a range of treatment options. We recognize that every patient is unique, which is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment solution for each person.
Addressing your mental health right now will help you live a thriving, fulfilling life. You can build strength and resilience, creating the strong foundation you need to enjoy every aspect of your life.
If you suspect that you need mental health support, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at Lifeworks Counseling Center. Contact us to learn more.