Depression is a common mood disorder that impacts more than 264 million people across the globe. This complex condition has mental and physical symptoms that interfere with an individual's ability to function day-to-day. Recognizing signs that signal depression can help these individuals and their loved ones understand and seek help.
Overwhelming and persistent sadness is common in people with depression. They may experience a sense of hopelessness that makes it difficult to see the good in their lives. Minor inconveniences can seem like enormous obstacles to people who have depression. This feeling makes it difficult to carry out meaningful activities due to an overwhelming sense of despair.
People with depression often turn their misery inward. They might doubt that they can do anything right and are often critical of themselves. This can lead to frustration, which can perpetuate a downward spiral. When low self-esteem and self-loathing are combined, suicidal thoughts may occur, which can lead to self-harm.
A loss of interest in favorite activities often affects people with depression. Lack of focus can make tasks difficult, leading to reduced performance, which brings the person back to the negative self-thought process. Loss of libido can hinder intimacy or render it nonexistent, impacting personal relationships. Difficulties with personal relationships further leads to a sense of failure and worsening self-esteem issues.
People with depression often feel unable to act in a socially appropriate manner. Irritability can make them difficult to be around, as they may be short-tempered or seem obstinately silent. This can prompt them to isolate themselves from others or cause acquaintances to interpret their actions as a lack of interest in continued friendship. Avoidance of other people can lead to a sense of isolation that worsens the symptoms of depression.
Low self-worth can lead to anxiety. In fact, almost half of people with depression also experience anxiety. A person with depression might often worry about their personal and professional future. They may feel certain that they are likely to fail at both. Feelings of anxiety may eventually fade, but this can indicate the individual has given up altogether.
Lack of energy can occur due to sadness and other factors, such as insufficient sleep caused by anxiety. This can lead to fatigue in severe cases. When combined with poor concentration, fatigue further hampers work and personal relationships and can lead to a downward spiral if, for example, these symptoms result in reprimands or loss of a job.
People with depression can develop abnormal sleep patterns and often struggle with insomnia and frequent awakening throughout the night. This can make other symptoms seem worse or give individuals more time to dwell on them. A person who has depression may also sleep more than normal and stay in bed for an unhealthy amount of time. Lethargy and lack of hope may make it seem impossible to get out of bed.
Change in appetite is common in people with depression, who may undertake binge eating or lose their appetite altogether. This can result in considerable weight gain or loss. This symptom can further exacerbate feelings of self-loathing. The medications used to treat depression can also cause weight changes, usually weight gain.
Some people with depression engage in high-risk behaviors as a way to temporarily relieve their mental anguish. An individual may spend money frivolously, embark on dangerous adventures, carelessly sleep with multiple partners, or develop a substance abuse issue. Though loved ones worry about these signs and might seek to discuss the problem, this can result in an angry reaction or prove ineffective.
People with depression may spend a significant amount of time thinking about self-harm and could be preoccupied with death. The reckless tendencies they experience can increase the likelihood of deliberate or accidental self-harm. Individuals preoccupied with these thoughts should seek professional help.
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