We all go through down periods in our lives where we feel sad. Maybe we lost a loved one, didn’t get that promotion we had been working so hard for, got divorced, or moved to a new city and are struggling to adjust. These feelings are normal and are typically a short-lived emotional response.
But sometimes, what we think is just sadness is actually depression, a serious mental health disorder that is so overpowering that it affects almost every part of a person’s life.
According to the World Health Organization, depression affects more than 300 million people of all ages and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. More women are affected by depression than men, and at its worse, depression can lead to suicide.
Here are a few risk factors that can make anyone more vulnerable to depression, per helpguide.org.
- Loneliness and isolation
- Recent stressful life experiences
- Family history of depression
- Financial or marital strain
- Early childhood trauma or abuse
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Health problems or chronic pain
- Unemployment or underemployment
Sadly, depression is on the rise globally, which means there is an increased need to spread awareness and education so we can recognize the symptoms of depression and get help.
Below are just a few of the common symptoms of depression:
- An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness or helplessness — When you are depressed, you can feel as though the struggles you are going through or the situation you are facing will never improve.
- Complete loss of interest in daily activities that you once found enjoyable — Daily activities such as working out, playing with your children, and being intimate with your significant other no longer seem to matter.
- Loss of energy — We all get those periods of feeling physically drained, but when it happens all the time and is followed by intense fatigue, aches and pains, and lethargy, you may be depressed.
- Strong feelings of worthlessness — You are constantly criticizing yourself and never feel good enough. We may compare ourselves to others and feel inferior around loved ones, coworkers, and friends.
- Reckless behavior — Suddenly taking on substance abuse, excessive gambling, or other reckless activities when they are typically not in your nature may be a sign of depression.
- Thoughts of suicide — You talk openly about death, suicide, or have thoughts of harming yourself. You may even be saying things like, “I just want out of this.”
- Unintentional weight loss or gain — Depression not only wreaks havoc on your emotional state but also affects you physically. This can include rapid and unintentional weight gain or loss.
Perhaps the most striking part about depression is that many times, we don’t even realize we are depressed. This is often because you’ve been depressed for so long that it simply feels normal to you, or you don’t even notice it since many of the symptoms mentioned above are subtle at first and develop gradually over time.
Your friends at Murray Media Group want to remind you that your mental health is nothing that should be taken for granted. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or signs mentioned above, or support from family and friends and lifestyle changes aren’t enough, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for depression, including therapy and medication.
*This article is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice on depression. Please consult with an expert.