It is natural to feel sad, hopeless, helpless and left all by yourself sometimes. We feel down when we lose a job, an important person, after a miscarriage, or due to another major crisis. Are these simply daily blues or depression symptoms? Should you start getting worried?
People of all ages, starting with children, might become depressed. Though sex and genetics do play a role, women are twice as likely to deal with depression. If somebody in your family had depression, you have higher chance of getting it. Due to high rate of suicides, untreated depression can end up very bad.
Psychologists agree that clinical depression symptoms are emotional, cognitive and physical:
- Persistent feelings of sadness and/or anxiety
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Feeling exhausted and decreased energy
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, cramps, headaches, or digestive problems
- Suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know experience these symptoms, it is best to see a general practitioner. Depression treatment is medication with psychotherapy. Antidepressants will ease the symptoms, but the only lasting cure is therapy.
Signs of possible suicide
I would like to highlight that people who try to commit suicide, are always in clinical depression. However, it might be that neither they, nor their relatives know about it.
- A sudden change of mood from sad to calm or seemingly happy
- Constant thinking and/or talking about death
- Talking about suicide
- Reckless behavior, risking one’s life
- Losing interest in anything
- Constant remarks on how useless, hopeless, or helpless he is
- Finishing unfinished business, such as changing a will
- Visiting or calling significant people in his life
If you recognize these warning signs in your relative, friend, or acquaintance, you should take immediate action. Look for professional help!
If it is mild or moderate depression, physical exercise might be very helpful. Biking, jogging, swimming, housework, anything that is personally pleasant can release endorphins that create a happiness state. Doing it on daily basis can ease depression symptoms and create hope, which is key for recovery.
Maybe you’ve heard that depression is born in our brains. Scientists have noticed that by changing our thoughts we can control it. Again, it is only useful to mild and moderate depression. The main idea is to change incoming negative thoughts (I will never succeed, I am not good enough) with neutral thoughts (ice cream is delicious, the sky is blue). You must repeat this every time negative thoughts come. This is the way you overwrite negative thoughts with neutral thoughts and help the brain to regulate your mood better.