According to the World Health Organization, there are over 300 million people worldwide living with depression, so it’s no surprise that most of us will be living with some form of this mental illness at some point in our lives. Although depression can come in various forms and severity levels, the key signs are similar across the board and easy to spot if you know what to look for. Here are some ways to know if you or someone you live with has depression symptoms.
What Are Different Types Of Depression?
Depression is a psychiatric disorder that affects millions of people in every corner of the world. And while depression symptoms can vary from person to person, there are a few key signs that indicate someone may be suffering from depression. According to WebMD, two types of depression include major depressive disorder and dysthymia. Major depressive disorder is more common and lasts longer than dysthymia. Both affect your emotions, energy levels, appetite and sleeping patterns for an extended period of time.
Why Does Depression Happen?
There are many things that contribute to depression, but one of them is a chemical imbalance in our brains. The hippocampus and amygdala are two parts of our brain that play a role in processing emotion, stress, fear, and pleasure. When these areas of our brain aren’t functioning properly, we may experience symptoms of depression. People who do not get help for their depression may also find themselves experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or nausea because their body is trying its best to cope with an increased level of stress.
Signs and Symptoms
Depression symptoms can come and go throughout a person’s life, and vary depending on a variety of factors. If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms for more than two weeks, or if they’re getting worse, don’t wait—talk to your doctor about treatment options that will help you live a healthy and happy life.
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
You feel like there’s no way out of your situation. You may think that even when things get better, they never seem to last for long.
- Reckless behavior
If you’ve been drinking more, smoking more, taking more drugs than usual; have gotten in a lot of fights; have started stealing money from friends or family; or have been gambling compulsively, that could be a sign of depression.
- Unexplained aches and pains
It’s often hard for depressed people to muster up enough energy or drive to seek out a doctor, but unexplained aches and pains are a key indicator of depression. Studies have shown that 40% of those who suffer from depression experience aches and pains that can be chalked up as symptoms of chronic pain, even when there isn’t an underlying medical issue.
- Loss of energy
When we’re depressed, our brain produces less serotonin—the feel-good chemical that makes us happy and wakeful. Some people may show their depression by sleeping more than usual (hypersomnia), while others will sleep much less (insomnia). Most of us experience a feeling of lethargy during depressive episodes, making it hard to get out of bed in the morning. With so many things weighing on our minds, exhaustion and stress become constant companions.
- Sleep changes
Most people who are depressed have a change in their sleep patterns. You may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting a restful night’s sleep. You may wake up tired and foggy-headed every day. Or perhaps your sleeping schedule is completely off; for example, you oversleep on the weekends and take hour-long naps during your workdays. If any of these situations sound familiar, there’s a good chance you’re depressed.
What Are The Causes of Depression?
There are many contributing factors to depression, but experts believe that genetics and early-life experiences play a critical role. If you have family members who suffered from depression, there’s a good chance that you’ll be at risk as well. Sometimes stress and trauma can lead to short-term depression, while other times it develops into more severe forms of mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Whatever form it takes, depression is a serious condition that affects both body and mind.
Is there a cure?
Depression is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people every year. It’s one of the most frequent reasons people visit doctors and psychologists, who are often at a loss as to what they can do. Because there’s no single root cause for depression, traditional treatments like antidepressants and therapy don’t always work. Depression can be hard to live with, but there are plenty of strategies you can use to minimize its impact on your daily life.