Understanding the Signs of Depression
The majority of us have those down moments where we feel that life is out to get us, but those moments may not last long. Depression is a serious mental illness that can interfere with your daily life and keep you from doing the activities you enjoy.
Forms of Depression
Depressive illnesses are brain disorders caused by a combination of biological, environmental, genetic, and psychological factors.
- Major depression is characterized by severe symptoms that arise during episodes, disrupting your work, home, and social life. A person can have multiple episodes throughout life.
- Persistent depressive disorder is shown as a pessimistic mood that lasts for at least two years.
- Postpartum depression occurs after women experience childbirth. It’s when hormonal and physical changes, and the new responsibility of a child, become too much.
- Seasonal affective disorder often occurs during winter when a person becomes depressed due to a lack of natural sunlight.
- Manic-depressive illness, commonly known as bipolar disorder, is characterized by a person’s continuous mood changes. It’s less common than major depression and persistent depressive disorder.
Trauma, the loss of a loved one, or any stressful situation can trigger depression, which has also been linked to family medical history.
Symptoms to Be Aware of
Understanding and identifying the signs of depression is vital to your mental health. Although the most well-known symptom of depression is persistent sadness, there are other mental, emotional, and physical signs to recognize:
Mental symptoms include:
- Loss of interest in hobbies you once enjoyed.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Thoughts of suicide.
- Anti-social behavior or loss of interest in friends.
- Loss of pleasure in sex.
Emotional symptoms include:
- Persistent sadness.
- A feeling of hopelessness and pessimism.
- A feeling of guilt.
Physical symptoms include:
- Decreased energy or fatigue.
- Insomnia or oversleeping.
- Appetite loss or overeating.
- Digestive problems that do not subside with treatment.
So What Now?
Depression is more common among women than men due to their biological cycle and hormonal changes, and only half of Americans who experience depressive symptoms seek treatment. If you experience symptoms, talk to your primary care physician. He or she may recommend a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. Speak up and don’t allow depression to take over your life.