Recognizing the Signs of Depression

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Recognizing the Signs of Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 17.3 million adults had a major depressive episode in 2017, an amount comprising 7.1% of the nation’s entire population. These statistics mean that there is a high chance that Americans are at risk for developing depression themselves or for knowing someone that is experiencing symptoms.

Knowing what signs to look for can help address depression before it gets extreme. Some of the most common symptoms of depression as listed by WebMD include:

  • Difficulty remembering
  • Constant fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Loss of interest in things one typically enjoys
  • Constantly feeling sad or anxious
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Unaddressed depression can have devastating consequences, including suicidal attempts by the individual. Interestingly, while depression is considered a mental condition, people can also manifest physical symptoms, including aches and pains that remain persistent and do not go away even when treated.

If you or someone you know are experiencing any of the listed symptoms, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider. While there is still a stigma that is remaining around mental health, over the past decade, more attention has been drawn to the condition. Suggesting to someone that they seek mental healthcare can be a touchy subject and one that needs to be addressed delicately. Reminding the person that addressing mental health is as important as addressing physical health may help them accept their condition. Sharing your own experiences of depression can also help others feel more comfortable to seek out help themselves.

Healthcare providers will take into consideration the full range of symptoms a patient is experiencing as well as gathering information about the onset and duration of the symptoms. When someone is diagnosed with depression, a doctor may prescribe several different treatment methods, including a combination of different ones. These treatments include medication, and psychotherapy.

Since many people are self-isolating due to the pandemic, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of depression in both ourselves and the people around us. Remember to check on loved ones and keep open lines of communication with others. Symptoms of depression can take on many different forms, so be aware of people who seem especially irritable or withdrawn, as they may be dealing with unexpressed depression.

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of depression or having suicidal thoughts, you can research local suicidal hotline numbers, or you can call the National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. Reaching out to your religious community if you are involved with one can also help, as well joining support groups.

Even as people are socially distancing, it is important to maintain constant communication with the world outside your home. By keeping in touch with friends and family members, you will help to develop a network of people you care about and who care for you.

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