Depression takes many forms and levels of intensity. Anyone, regardless of age, sex, and financial standing, can develop depression. This mental health disorder has physical and emotional side effects and can be difficult to identify because it shares symptoms with other disorders. Plus, the symptoms vary from person to person. The rising number of young people being diagnosed with depression is cause for concern, and it is important to recognize the signs of clinical depression.
Depression often causes people to lose interest in things they used to enjoy. Formerly outgoing people might begin turning down invitations from friends. Individuals with depression may start to neglect hygiene and appearance standards and fail to uphold their responsibilities. What were once normal social interactions cease to appeal to them as they retreat into solitude.
Research shows the average person makes four or five decisions per hour. The vast majority of these decisions require little forethought, but a person with depression can find even the smallest decisions difficult when normal thought processes are interrupted. Depression can also make individuals more forgetful and cause problems with concentration. Medications used to treat depression can also cause memory problems.
When a person becomes unable to effectively carry out responsibilities, they may begin to notice they are alienating family and friends. Even if they have been diagnosed with depression, they may blame themselves for their lack of sociability. This can decrease self-esteem and begin a cycle of self-doubt and negativity.
Someone with depression may develop irrational or disproportionate feelings of guilt. Whether for legitimate reasons or not, their emotional reaction is typically out of proportion to how a healthy person would feel in the same circumstances. Worse, a sense of being unable to correct the causes of guilt can create an emotional tailspin that exacerbates other symptoms such as anti-social tendencies and low self-esteem.
People with depression sometimes become intolerant of the behavior of others. The difficulties they face in handling daily challenges can make seeing the apparent ease with which acquaintances manage their lives maddening. A depressed person can become overly sensitive to perceived slights and even experience emotional outbursts when they feel slighted. Repressed anger and the inability to deal with inner rage healthily is believed to underlie some cases of depression.
People with depression can become preoccupied with what is wrong with them, leading to anxiety. They may experience mysterious physical pains, fatigue, loss of appetite, problems concentrating, and other issues that can suggest a serious physical ailment. Sometimes, receiving a diagnosis of depression or another mental health disorder can relieve this symptom because the individual has a reason for their distress.
People with depression often develop a pessimistic view of life. Some start to think about death, though only a few are willing to talk about it. Those who do might speak of their hope that it will soon be over. This kind of talk often frightens those close to the person. Though this is not always indicative of suicidal leanings, there is a correlation between depression and suicide; anyone concerned about a friend or family member's mental wellbeing should encourage them to speak to a doctor.
Researchers estimate that one in eight women will experience depression at some time. The condition can disrupt hormones, which can make a woman more likely to experience irregular menstrual cycles. She may miss a period, or it may come later than usual. Generally, fertility decreases as well. Many other health conditions can affect the menstrual cycle, but if a woman has other symptoms of depression and no other pre-existing health conditions, a mental health disorder could be the cause.
Disturbed sleep is one of the most common symptoms of depression. Some people find it hard to get to sleep, while others wake up in the early hours of the morning and cannot fall back to sleep. Some might feel incapable of getting out of bed until much later in the day. Sleep deprivation adds to fatigue and exacerbates other symptoms such as low productivity and feelings of self-worth.
Depression can occur alongside pain one cannot link to another issue or injury, including headaches, muscle aches, and chest pain. The latter, in particular, should always be investigated by a doctor to rule out serious physical conditions. Depression can be a side effect of chronic pain conditions or cause the symptoms directly, but it is best to let a doctor make this determination.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.