We all feel sad or unhappy sometimes, but how do you know when those feelings and emotions are more than just a mood? Depression is a mood disorder of persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. Clinical depression can consume a person's life and become dangerous. Here are 8 signs of depression to be aware of in yourself, a loved one, or even a coworker.
- Hopeless outlook. Depression affects the way you feel about life in general. A hopeless outlook on life is the most common symptom. This may start with one specific area but then eventually spread to your entire outlook.
- Loss of interest. Depression has a way of taking the pleasure out of even your favorite activities. A loss of interest or total withdrawal from things, such as sports, hobbies, or going out with friends is a key sign of depression.
- Increased fatigue and sleep problems. Depression affects not only your mood but your entire body, such as increasing or decreasing your ability to sleep. This then leads to lack of energy, persistent fatigue, and slowed thinking and speaking.
- Irritability. Sadness is not the only mood that may occur due to depression. It can also make you more irritable or frustrated, causing angry or emotional outbursts. This occurs over both major and small matters.
- Cognitive changes. As a mood disorder, depression can affect processes in the brain, making it difficult to think, concentrate, make decisions, and remember things. This may be seen through a decline in work and/or academics.
- Changes in appetite and weight. Dietary changes is one way to indicate depression. For some, this may mean an increased appetite and weight gain, while others withdraw from food and lose weight. The key indicator is whether or not these changes are intentional.
- Uncontrollable emotions. People who experience depression may show extreme mood swings. This can mean an angry outburst to crying uncontrollably without any factors prompting this change. There are also often feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or fixation on past failures.
- Suicidal indicators. Depression can be connected with suicide. Those who are suffering or considering suicide usually show symptoms. This can include talking about ending their life, hurting themselves or others, or even giving away loved items.
If you know or think someone you know may be suffering from depression, here are some things you can do:
- Call your doctor or mental health professional.
- Call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
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