6 Warning Signs of Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore
Depression is a major leading concern in the US and the biggest problem about this disorder is that health experts still don’t completely understand it.
The problem with depression, the clinical kind, is that usually people don’t view it as something serious, they believe it’s a short- lived mood-swing or a temporary feeling that can easily be fixed with a tub of ice-cream and a marathon of comedies. These people believe that the terms ‘disease’ and ‘disorder’ should be reserved for more serious conditions and not for the feeling depressed kind of conditions. And this attitude that the majority of people have towards depression is the most harmful for those actually suffering from depression.
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The WHO says that more than 350 million people across the globe suffer from depression and if the condition is left untreated it can result in suicide.
Feeling down from time to time isn’t a big deal but only if these feelings disappear after a while and don’t affect your overall health. But if you suffer from depression, it’s not something temporary that will go away on its own. You need professional help to overcome it. It’s a mental disorder which can only get worse with time and disrupt your professional, social and personal life.
The first thing you need to do before you get into treating depression is identify its symptoms and determine if it really is depression what’s troubling you.
The list below is composed of the most critical signs of depression you should ever ignore. If you notice any of them you should seek professional help.
Low Self-Esteem, hopelessness and guilt
The first and most obvious signs of clinical depression are feeling guilt, low self-esteem and hopelessness about the future. These feelings are never straightforward and easily distinguished, they are more complex and may present themselves in disguise. You may feel guilty about your past actions and blame yourself excessively for past mistakes, or feel bad about who you are. People suffering from depression are usually very unforgiving of themselves and almost never blame others for something that happened.
According to statistics, 85% of clinical depression patients said that the most frequent symptom of their depression were feelings of inadequacy and self-blame. The next in line were shame, self-disgust and guilt.
A study from 2004 published in the journal Psychiatry revealed fatigue as one of the common symptoms of depression.
Clinical depression suppresses the production of serotonin (the happiness hormone) which suppresses the production of epinephrine, (the energy creating hormone) and as a result we feel tired all the time.
People suffering from depression feel tired even when they get sufficient sleep at night and don’t engage in many physical activities. Physical tiredness causes mental tiredness which makes the sufferer unwilling to participate in any activity. But the problem with chronic fatigue is that it’s a vague symptom, which can easily be attributed to other disorders and many doctors fail to attribute it to the actual condition that is depression, misdiagnosing the patient and failing to prescribe an adequate treatment.
Insomnia and other sleeping disorders can be a symptom of depression. According to a study from 2009, published in the Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, from the 531 patients the researchers examined 97% said that they have problems with insomnia. 59% of them said that the lack of sleep disrupted their social and professional life, 40% said they were forced to take mid-day naps and 34% complained that the insomnia was severely disrupting their quality of life.
Anger and irritability
The initial stages of depression are accompanied with one other symptom aside from overwhelming despair – anger, unprovoked, uncalled, pure anger. The anger is often felt in combination with increased irritability and the person often lashes out on undeserving people, completely uncalled for.
The person suffering from depression can be triggered by almost anything that he perceives as irritating, annoying and lash out on friends, family and even complete strangers, out of the blue. Even if the depressed individual doesn’t openly express his or her anger, they can be consumed with it on the inside, which is even worse. Depression accompanied with anger has the tendency to last longer and even grow into substance abuse and cause additional health problems.
When we mention anxiety as a symptom of depression, it’s not the simple feeling of nervousness about something that’s about to happen. Anxiety disorders can be serious and interfere with one’s peace of mind and make them obsess over the smallest of things which can easily turn into paranoia. The smallest thing can become the last drop in the glass and push you over the edge. You’ll be unable to distract yourself from whatever’s causing your anxiety and it can even start to manifest physically, through sweating, accelerated heartbeat and palpitations.
According to a study conducted in 2000 and published in the Journal Comprehensive Psychiatry out of the 255 subjects, all suffering from of depression, 50% percent reported anxiety disorders.
Recurrent Thoughts of Death and Suicide
This is the ultimate stage of depression and should be addressed urgently, especially if these suicidal thoughts are becoming more frequent and more appealing.
Clinical depression and similar mood disorders are strongly connected to suicidal thoughts, as the study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry claims. If you or anyone close to you expresses his thoughts of suicide and death, consult a specialist and seek immediate treatment. These suicidal tendencies can vary and range from just thoughts, to online searches, planning and even inflicting physical self-harm.
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