Feelings like sadness, loneliness, and bouts of dejection can affect you every now and then. Most often, these are only temporary reactions to having low self-esteem, dealing with a loss, or the daily struggles of life. However, if these feelings become too overwhelming and persistent, lasting for days, weeks, or months on end, then chances are that you are going through depression.
What are The Behavioural & Mental Signs of Depression?
- Feelings of Hopelessness – You have a helpless or hopeless outlook towards life.
- Loss of Interest – A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once loved – hobbies, socializing, sports.
- Inattentiveness – You have trouble concentrating.
- Irritability – Men, in particular, have symptoms of irritability when they are depressed.
- Suicidal tendency – You have disturbing thoughts of suicide and death. An estimated 60% of people committing suicides show signs of depression at some point in life.
What are the Physical Symptoms of Depression?
- Persistent Fatigue or Lethargy – Your energy levels are always low.
- Muscle Aches and Headaches – Pain can flare up in your joints and muscles. Chronic headaches and migraines are, frequent as well.
- Sleep Problems – Insomnia is a symptom of depression. Moreover, you will have a poor quality of sleep.
- Changes in Weight and Appetite – Appetite and weight can fluctuate for people living with depression. Some people eat a lot and gain plenty of weight. Others don’t eat much and, therefore, lose weight rapidly.
- Digestive Problems – Researchers say that depression can cause stomach cramps, nausea, and bloating.
What are the Symptoms of Depression in Children & Teens?
Does depression affect young people as well? Yes, depression affects teens and children as much as it affects adults.
When children suffer from depression, it becomes harder for them to make an effort or even engage in daily activities. They may feel rejected, unloved, and worthless. The longer it persists, the more dangerous it becomes.
- Persistent feelings of sadness, possibly involving crying spells without an apparent cause
- Feelings of anger and frustration over trivial matters
- Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness
- Lack of interest in pleasurable activities
- Conflict with peers, friends, and family
- Low self-esteem
- A strong feeling of guilt or worthlessness
- A tendency to stay fixated on past failures
- Being extremely critical of oneself
- Sensitivity to failure or rejection and the constant need for reassurance
- Difficulty concentrating, memorizing, and making decisions
- Recurrent or frequent thoughts of self-harm, suicide or death
- Lethargy and exhaustion
- Sleep problems – sleeping too much or too less, insomnia
- Changes in appetite – a sudden decrease in appetite leading to unexplained weight loss, or excessive cravings and overeating resulting in weight gain
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Restlessness or agitation – for example, hand-wringing or pacing
- Slowed movement and speech
- Social isolation
- Frequent headaches and body aches
- Poor academic performance
- Less attention to appearance or personal hygiene
- Angry outbursts, and risky or disruptive behavior
- The tendency to inflict pain upon oneself – for example, burning, cutting, excessive tattooing or piercing
Depressive symptoms, particularly in teens and kids, may vary based on the severity of the condition.
How to Be Sure If You Have Depression?
Feelings of despair are very normal, even as you go through the tough patches of life. Therefore, it may be hard to tell if you have depression. For example, in teens, an angry or irritable mood might appear as an attitude problem; lack of interest and low energy can be confused with laziness.
As depression is hard to detect, your best bet is to consult a doctor at the earliest.
How is Depression Diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will most likely ask you questions regarding the symptoms – how long have they been present, how severe do they get, etc. A doctor may also perform a thorough examination to check for physical symptoms, and conduct a blood test to dismiss other medical conditions. Apart from this, the following tests may be used to diagnose depression –
- The Beck Depression Inventory
- The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale
These tests are designed in the pattern of a questionnaire that helps to evaluate the severity of depression. The higher you score, the more serious the condition.
How Can You Treat Depression?
Depression can be challenging to deal with, but treatment can help improve the quality of your life.
The treatment options include –
Anti-anxiety, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can ease the symptoms and improve the quality of your life.
Talking to a therapist may help you learn skills to deal with negative thoughts and feelings.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a part of psychotherapy. The therapy involves interacting closely with the patient and focuses on problem-solving. CBT aims to identify distorted thought patterns and change a person’s thinking and behavior.
Other treatment options are yoga, meditation, and exercise. They can help you de-stress and improve your mood.
When to See a Doctor?
If signs and symptoms of depression impede your routine activities or think about harming yourself, then you should consult a doctor.
You have a severe case of depression when symptoms intensify with time and continue for over six months. During this phase, a person may experience hallucinations, delusions, or suicidal thoughts.
Clinical depression affects millions of people globally. However, there are various treatment options available, ranging from anti-depressive medications to lifestyle changes and therapy. Whichever path you choose, the first step to getting your life back on track is to seek professional help and support from the people you trust.