Everyone gets a little sad sometimes – a lost job, a bad day, lack of sleep. So, how do you distinguish a case of the ‘blues’ from signs and symptoms of actual depression?
The important thing to note when assessing possible signs and symptoms of depression is how long these feelings have been persisting and how severe they are. That being said, here are 6 warning signs and symptoms of depression to look out for.
Signs and Symptoms
1. Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
Often likened to feelings of numbness, people experiencing these feelings will often have a pessimistic view on things. They will make self-deprecating statements like ‘nobody cares’ or ‘I can’t do anything right’ and they will often fixate on past mistakes.
2. Consistent episodes of crying
It is not uncommon for people to have breakdowns and cry from time to time, but this is also a trigger symptom of depression. Make note of the frequency of crying episodes and try to compare them to other signs or symptoms you may be witnessing.
3. Sleeping too much or too little
People with depression will often display a lot of agitation and restlessness that can either cause them to sleep too much or not enough. Depression can trigger insomnia, or it can do just the opposite depending on the person, so watch closely for extreme changes in sleeping patterns.
4. Lose of appetite or overeating
Like the varied sleeping side effects that can occur, depression can also trigger different extremes in appetite. Some people may completely lose their appetite, while others may turn to food for comfort. Look for sudden weight loss or gain, missed meals, and lost interest in favorite foods.
5. Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
One of the most telling symptoms of depression. Look for lost interest in favorite hobbies or things – children, reading, running, etc. This is also correlated to a decrease in interest to go out and/or see family and friends.
6. Expressed thoughts of dying or suicide
A very real and scary sign that is the most commonly linked to depression. These expressions seem almost logical to the individual – a means to an end for their pain and suffering. If someone you know is talking about ending it all or wishing they could die, do not leave them alone, encourage them to talk about it, and if it persists, seek immediate professional help.
Is it time to seek help?
If you have witnessed all or most of these signs and symptoms everyday for two weeks or longer and they are starting to impair yours or your loved one’s ability to manage themselves at home and work, it is time to seek professional advice and assessment.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. Going it alone or trying to struggle through these symptoms can prolong and worsen the depression.
Do you have further questions or concerns about depression and its signs and symptoms? Feel free to email us at any time.
Live Mentally Healthy,
Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill