Feelings of sadness, grief, or hopelessness are persistent and interfere with daily functioning, it may indicate clinical depression.
Depression goes beyond feeling down or experiencing a bad day. When feelings of sadness, grief, or hopelessness are persistent and interfere with daily functioning, it may indicate clinical depression.
Depression is a common mental illness that affects how you think, feel, and act. Often associated with having a low mood, depression can result in a variety of emotional and physical symptoms that affect your ability to function in everyday life. People often experience feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness. Depression can occur in all genders, age groups, and ethnicities.
While depression is increasingly common, symptoms can vary from person to person, and overlap other disorders such as anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder. Understanding the common signs of depression can help you determine whether or not you're experiencing more than a temporary low mood, clinical depression, and/or other treatable concerns.
1. Persistent low mood
While feeling sad or down from time to time is normal, consistently experiencing these emotions could indicate depression. Those with depression may feel overwhelmed by sadness that doesn't go away. Others may feel numb or empty and unable to produce an emotional response when something happens. In some cases, depression can also be accompanied by feelings of anxiety, worry, or impending doom.
When persistent feelings associated with depression do not go away, this can have damaging effects on a person's relationships, work, school, or ability to take care of oneself. It is recommended to consult with a mental health professional if your symptoms get worse or do not improve within two weeks.
2. Low energy, fatigue, or feeling sluggish
Having depression can take a toll on the mind and body. While most people are familiar with the emotional symptoms of depression, having a low mood can also manifest physically. Common physical symptoms of depression include low energy, fatigue, and feeling sluggish.
When people persistently feel overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, grief, and worthlessness, they may suddenly notice a decrease in their energy levels. Often, people report feeling sluggish and unmotivated to carry out everyday tasks. Others may feel numb, causing everything to feel like it's in slow motion. All of these factors can have a significant effect on a person's ability to lead an everyday life.
3. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness
Having depression for an extended period of time can make you feel like you'll never recover and be happy again. When you feel hopeless, it may feel like your life has no meaning. You may also feel like a burden to family and friends, leading to self isolation.
Shame and low self-esteem are also common in depression. You may feel worthless and like there is no point in getting help or reaching out to others. This can lead to neglecting your health, failing to complete household chores, and disregarding important responsibilities for work or school.
4. Loss of interest in activities or things you once enjoyed
People who persistently feel down can lose interest in the things they used to enjoy. Things like hobbies, exercise, music, games, and socializing may no longer bring pleasure. A person with depression may pass up the chance to connect with family and friends and miss important opportunities at work or school.
For example, you may typically love taking your dog to the park and running on the beach every weekend. With depression, however, these activities can suddenly become exhausting and uninteresting.
5. Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Having depression may alter a person's sleeping habits. Some people may experience insomnia or have greater difficulty falling asleep. Others may have interrupted sleep, waking up at unusual hours during the night or early in the morning.
Fatigue is common with depression, and may cause some people to oversleep. For example, a person could get eight or more hours of uninterrupted sleep and still feel unrested. Experiencing fatigue from depression may also cause individuals to nap throughout the day.
Whether a person struggles to get adequate sleep or is oversleeping, both can interfere with a person's ability to carry out important tasks throughout the day.
6. Changes in appetite or weight
It is common for people with depression to experience changes in their eating habits and weight. Eating habits may change due to depressive symptoms, such as fatigue and disinterest in activities.
Losing interest in food is one example of this. In particular, people with depression often lose interest in cooking due to a lack of energy for preparing meals. Having nausea from depression may also lead to a decreased appetite. Each of these factors can lead to weight loss over time.
While depression often causes people to lose their appetite, feeling down can also lead to overeating. For some, eating can be a source of pleasure. When feeling sad, lonely, or worthless, some people may eat to improve their mood. Over time, this can cause a person to develop unhealthy eating habits and gain weight.
7. Having trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Having depression can negatively impact a person's mental performance. It is common for people with depression to experience chronic brain fog that prevents them from thinking clearly.
For example, you may start losing items around the house and forget appointments that you made. In addition, your memory may feel impaired, causing you to forget what you recently said or did.
Having depression can also make it difficult to concentrate. It may be challenging for you to make decisions or participate in discussions with others. You may find it difficult to finish your school work or solve problems at work. Furthermore, you may even find it difficult to complete everyday tasks around the house.
While many people often associate depression with sadness, grief, and isolation, depression can also cause anger and irritability. People with depression may become less tolerant of specific situations or people's behaviors, leading to irritability or being short-tempered.
When stressed or feeling down, they may lose patience with loved ones and lash out. This can lead to saying or doing things that they may later regret.
Lack of sleep can also increase the likelihood of irritability. Whenever you are not feeling well or are not getting enough sleep, your brain may be less capable of reasoning and regulating negative thoughts and emotions.
9. Chronic pain, headaches, or digestive problems
Depression can be accompanied by unexplained physical symptoms that often do not respond to treatment. Common symptoms may include general achiness, muscle pain, reduced immune function, digestion issues, tenderness, headaches, and sexual problems. In addition, a lack of sleep caused by depression can sometimes exacerbate these symptoms.
As a result of poor diet and inactivity, people suffering from depression may also be at greater risk for chronic health conditions. This can include obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, among others.
10. Suicidal thoughts or attempts
People with depression may begin to think about not wanting to live anymore or ending their life. Known as suicide ideation, this can include thinking, wishing, or planning to take their own life. In some cases, a person may also engage in self-harming behaviors. A person planning suicide may give away meaningful items, close personal accounts, sell household items, or write about suicide.
While most people with depression do not attempt suicide, major depression increases suicide risk compared to those without depression. In addition, the severity of depression may also influence a person's risk of suicide.
Thoughts of suicide should always be taken seriously. If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, engaging in self-harming behaviors, or is a threat to others, do not delay treatment. Seek help immediately.
Depression Treatment at CHE
Although depression may seem endless, with targeted treatment, it is absolutely possible to feel better and get back to living in a relatively short amount of time. When sadness, grief, and anxiety persist despite your best efforts, consulting with a mental health professional can help you address the symptoms of your depression and provide solutions for moving forward in life.
CHE Behavioral Health Services offers compassionate and comprehensive care for depression and other mental health conditions. With a network of over 900 experienced mental health professionals, we make getting the care you need convenient and affordable.
To learn more about depression and the treatment options available at CHE Behavioral Health Services, please call 888-515-3834. We are ready to talk, and ready to listen.