We’re all familiar with the ups and downs of life, being in a bad mood and the feeling of sadness. But when feeling down won’t go away and your everyday life is impacted, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is a common, serious illness with severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks and handles daily life. Arm the members of your community with the knowledge they need to identify the red flags of depression and seek help.
QuickNote: Everyone experiences symptoms differently and to varying degrees. Sometimes, signs are subtle and easily missed. But if you or someone you know has been feeling down for two weeks or longer, it may be time to seek professional medical help.
Depression Red Flags
1. Your Mood
Don’t dismiss drastic changes in mood, persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness or anxiousness. It isn’t normal to feel consistently hopeless, helpless, guilty or worthless for long periods of time. Being touchy, irritable and pessimistic can also indicate a bigger issue.
2. Changes in Eating Habits
Many people use food as a coping mechanism. Whether you have lost your appetite or have started eating more than usual, this, especially when combined with weight loss or weight gain can be a signpost of a problem.
3. Lack of Interest in People or Activities
People are social creatures. Withdrawing from social activities or not engaging in activities you normally enjoy is a tell-tale sign of depression. Staying in bed and being lethargic can also worsen depression symptoms. On the contrary, being overly social can indicate the same issue. Some people who suspect they have depression mask their struggle by overcompensating with exaggerated, energetic, positive behavior in an attempt to show people how they really want to be perceived.
4. Sleep Issues
Changes in sleep patterns, such as difficulty falling asleep, sleeping too much or too little can all be signs of a bigger problem.
Feeling extra sluggish despite getting the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep a night? Mental health issues can seriously impact you in a physical way. You may have no energy for even regular daily activities and feel tired nearly all day, every day.
6. Physical Pain
Depression can emerge in other physical ways too. Headaches, upset stomach and other persistent aches, or pains that don’t get better with treatment could mean that depression is a factor.
7. Trouble Concentrating and Making Decisions
Can’t seem to focus, remember details or make decisions? Combined with other symptoms of depression, these results can have grave consequences: missed information, mix-ups and misunderstandings.
Above all, it is important to remember that depression is treatable, and help is available. Eighty percent of all people with clinical depression who have received treatment significantly improve their lives.
Having suicidal thoughts or urges?
If you are having suicidal thoughts or urges, go to the emergency room of your local hospital, dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255).
For more information on health and wellness products, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Depression: Learn to Heal the Hurt.