Low mood can make daily living and functioning almost impossible at times. If you suspect you have depression-like symptoms, it is important that you talk to a health professional as soon as possible.
Depression Signs & Symptoms
Depression does not discriminate. It is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Children and adolescents may exhibit high anxiety levels that become chronic mood or anxiety disorders in adulthood. Risk factors for depression include, personal or family history of depression; major life changes; trauma; stress; some physical illnesses; and certain medications. While these risk factors have the potential to lead to depression, not everyone who has them will become depressed. The National Institute of Mental Health states that based on research, causes of depression in an individual are a combination of genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological factors.
Symptoms of Depression
(National Institute of Mental Health)
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Aches or pains, headaches, or digestive problems
This is a long list of possible symptoms found in depression. An individual may suffer from two or three symptoms, or they may experience a combination that varies day to day. When visiting your health professional, they will ask if you have had persistent symptoms nearly everyday for at least two weeks.
Forms of Depression with Unique Circumstances
Clinical depression (symptoms lasting for more than two weeks) does not always have a “why”. Those who suffer from clinical depression, through hard work and treatment, can have a remission of their symptoms. Other forms of depression originate from a certain event or become chronic.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
An individual with a depressed mood that lasts at least two years can be diagnosed with this type of depression. Periods of severe and then less severe symptoms can be experienced.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
The onset of depression is during months that have less natural light, such as winter, and then goes into remission in the spring and summer months. Also known as “winter depression”, symptoms include withdrawal, weight gain, and increased sleep. To be diagnosed, this depression predictably returns every year.
Other depression disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Postpartum Disorder, and Psychotic Depression, are intentionally left out of the article. While ALL types of depression need to be taken seriously, Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic Depression, and Postpartum Depression require specialist diagnosis, continuous monitoring and prescribed medication which goes beyond self-care.
The Take-Away: self-care, self-awareness, and self-love
Many products that can be added to a person’s toolkit of wellness. Depression is never something to be taken lightly and should always be discussed with a health professional. Self-care can feel almost impossible during an episode of depression. Taking small steps to take care of yourself during hard times should be practiced during more positive times. This practice can help it become routine. Then when a depressive mood comes, you are better prepared. Please know that this article does not offer expert medical advice. It is opinion based on research and formed by the findings. If you or someone you love is suffering with depression, reach out. There are people who can help.