Today, depression has become all pervasive. Even young children are not safe from the tentacles of this psychological disorder. For people with depression, life feels like an abyss, a dark hell hole, with no light in sight. Merely feeling upset is not depression though! Depression takes over one’s life, making each day a struggle. So, how can one differentiate between the normal emotions of being upset and clinical depression? By understanding the symptoms!
Types Of Depression:
Depression takes different forms. Each type of depression has its unique symptoms and effects. It is important that you know the type of depression you are suffering from, so that you will be able to manage your symptoms better and get effective treatments.
1. Major Depression:
This type of depression is characterized by the inability to enjoy and experience the pleasure of life. It is a recurring disorder and if left untreated, might last for about six months. There are a number of treatments available to prevent it from reoccurring.
This is a chronic and low grade depression. If you have Dysthymia, you may have normal mood for a brief duration and feel mildly to moderately depressed. These episodes can last for a long time. People with this type of depression might feel that they have always been depressed. Dysthymia can be treated even if unrecognized for several years.
3. Bipolar Disorder:
This type of disorder is also called manic depression. It is characterized by cyclic mood changes in an individual. The episodes of depression can consist of hyperactivity, little to no sleep, fast speech and impulsive behavior. Each manic episode lasts several weeks. The person with bipolar disorder exhibits symptoms of major depression with episodes of relative normalcy.
4. Postpartum Depression (PPD):
Often neglected, postpartum depression affects many women after they give birth. All those hormonal changes and the sudden responsibility of taking care of a helpless infant can be the trigger for PPD. About 10 to 15% of women experience this type of depression.
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
People with SAD experience symptoms of depression with the onset of winter. The lack of natural sunlight is often touted as the main reason for SAD.
6. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD):
Most women experience some level of PDD in their lives. Irritability, mood swings, overeating, sleep disturbances, and lack of concentration are all symptoms of this monthly depressive disorder.
Symptoms Of Depression:
As mentioned before, the one way to distinguish clinical depression from merely feeling ‘blue’ is to understand the symptoms. Here is a check list you should keep handy:
1. Loss Of Interest:
An individual suffering from depression might feel no interest in things he previously enjoyed like sex, playing with children, hobbies or other social activities. He or she might have also lost the ability to simply be happy.
2. Weight Change:
Significant weight gain or weight loss is one of the common symptoms experienced by those suffering from depression. The individual might experience a change of more than 5% of body weight within a month.
3. Change In Sleep Pattern:
People with depression might suffer from insomnia. Oversleeping, also known as hypersomnia, is also experienced by some people. If you are a person who generally fall asleep within few minutes of lying, but now find it difficult to go to sleep, then you might be suffering from depression.
The affected individual might also feel restless, violent and agitated. The person would have low tolerance level and gets irritated with almost everything.
5. Energy Loss:
A person suffering from depression might feel sluggish, fatigued, and physically exhausted. The entire body feels heavy. So doing even small tasks might feel like a battle. Sometimes, he might also stop dressing himself and even eating might take a back seat. The person might be in a constant state of restlessness.
6. Self Loathing:
This is a classic symptom of depression. An individual with depression might experience strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Self criticism is common among people with depression. Depressed people tend to blame themselves for all the bad in their life. Such self loathing might eventually lead to suicidal thoughts.
7. Change in Behavior:
The depressed individual might also engage in rash driving, indulging in irresponsible activities and other dangerous sports activities to get an adrenalin boost. It will let him forget their worries for a few moments at least.
8. Concentration Problems:
Depressed individuals might also experience concentration issues. They might find it difficult to focus as well as to make decisions. Even small decisions like choosing the color of the clothing to wear, might become a huge issue.
9. Physical Pains:
A depressed person might suffer from unexplained body pains and aches. He or she often complains of back pain, headaches, stomach pain and muscle aches.
Generally, we feel hopeless in situations, which disturb us. But this feeling is temporary. As time passes, we manage to get out of the problem by finding solutions. On the other hand, a depressed person is unable to make this transition and remains in a constant state of hopelessness.
11. Change In Appetite:
Every individual has a specific eating pattern. A significant change in the way one eats, in ones appetite level is a sign of depression. Depressed people react in two ways, by eating nothing or overeating.
12. Uncontrollable Emotions:
Another common symptom of depression is out of control emotions. One might be angry and then the very next moment starts crying. And these emotional outbursts depend on no trigger—they come and go on their own accord.
If you think you are depressed, don’t worry! Depression is an illness, and like any other illness, it too has its treatment plans. The most important thing is to accept that you have a problem. Acceptance is half the battle won! And seek help. Talk to your friends and family, and if it is needed talk to a counselor.
You don’t have to live a life of hopelessness and sadness. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t allow social stigma keep you from seeking treatment for your depression. Making an appointment with a health care professional is the bravest thing you can do! Go ahead, pick up that phone.
Why do you think people with depression shy away from seeking help? Share your views with us in the comments section below.