Depression is a very serious problem for many people and families and one of the real problems is that as a person starts to fall into depression the change is gradual and even your family does not see it coming until you need help.
You may have been feeling low for some time, or have noticed that someone close to you appears to be out of sorts, and you may be wondering whether this could be depression; here we list the most common symptoms of depression and how it could be affecting you or a loved one.
Initial Signs of Depression
One of the first signs of depression is that your sleep may be affected. You may have difficulty getting to sleep at night, and may find that you are troubled by negative thoughts. Often people with depression will wake several times during the night, or wake very early.
Getting back to sleep can then be very difficult. Some people find that their sleep pattern goes to the other extreme; they need a lot more sleep than usual, and will need to nap during the day.
How To Identify Depression Symptoms In Others
People with depression generally suffer from a loss of motivation. They can find it difficult to continue to carry out daily activities, and may find that they lose interest in their work.
They can also lose the will to participate in activities that they previously enjoyed, as they may no longer see any point in doing them. They may appear to lose enjoyment in spending time with friends and family, and can withdraw from contact with others.
They will feel ’empty’ for much of the time, and will appear to others to be sad and obviously depressed. It may be impossible to break through this sadness and raise their spirits and they will display this behavior consistently each day.
Quite often they may feel worthless, as though their life means nothing, and can feel an overwhelming guilt which may not seem rational to others.
They may have suicidal thoughts, or feel that their life is not worth living. Sometimes suicide is even attempted, often without warning. They may be overcome by anxious or upsetting thoughts which they are unable to control.
People with depression can appear to be very ‘flat’, as though nothing excites or interests them. They can display signs of anxiety, and can also have difficulty in concentrating. They will possibly be very short tempered and easily irritated, or else be very emotional and cry very easily, seemingly for no reason.
Appetite and Energy with Depression
Changes in appetite are also a clue. People who are depressed may either comfort eat or lose their appetite. Clinical diagnosis usually states that a gain or loss of 5% of body in the space of a month could be an indicator. Some sufferers may start to drink heavily to try to cope with their feelings and thoughts.
Sufferers can also appear to be exhausted; they will usually have little energy and can appear to move almost in slow motion. Alternatively some sufferers can appear to be very restless, even ‘hyper’, and need to be constantly on the move.
Depression can also manifest itself in physical symptoms, such as general aches and pains which have no obvious physical cause. Many sufferers also report recurrent headaches.
If you or someone you care for is displaying some of these symptoms of depression, you are best advised to see your doctor, who can provide a diagnosis and appropriate course of treatment.