While many people tend to use the term depression to loosely describe intermittent periods of unhappiness, it’s so much more than that. Depression is far deeper than a feeling of sadness. It’s a diagnosable medical condition that causes prolonged and intense symptoms that can severely disrupt day-to-day functioning.
As one of the most common mental health conditions in the world, depression’s symptoms are many and can vary considerably. If you’re living with persistent and pervasive feelings of overwhelming sadness or hopelessness, determining whether these symptoms may be signs of depression is the first step toward healing and recovery.
Take a look below at some of the most common warning signs of depression to determine if it may be time to speak with a behavioral health professional.
Feelings of Hopelessness or Emptiness
If your outlook on life has shifted to one of hopelessness or emptiness, you may be struggling with depression. Since depression is a chronic mood disorder that affects the way you perceive life in general, you may feel as though things won’t get better no matter what you do.
It’s also common to feel as though nothing really matters or there’s no point to living. If you consistently feel this way and feel powerless to change your outlook, reaching out for help may be in your best interest.
Feelings of Worthlessness
Feeling as though you’re insignificant or meaningless, as if your life doesn’t matter to anyone around you or in the grand scheme of things is a common warning sign of depression. Because this mood disorder can alter the way you interact with the world, it can literally change the way you see and define yourself and your life.
Persistent feelings of low self-worth or low self-esteem can be very damaging to your psyche, so if you’re feeling this way, it may be time to reach out for help.
Lack of Energy, Loss of Motivation, or Extreme Tiredness
Depression can trigger unrelenting fatigue, which can make the most mundane of daily tasks seem too difficult to manage. It can also make you feel as though getting out of bed in the morning is nearly impossible, even though you may have gotten a full night’s sleep. If you’re lacking the energy or motivation to complete even small tasks, it may be time to get help.
Research suggests that depression can cause insomnia (inability to sleep) in some people or trigger hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) in others. And although some people who suffer from depression get inordinate amounts of sleep, they don’t wake up feeling refreshed. That’s because people who live with depression generally get lower-quality sleep than individuals who don’t have the condition. If you feel like your sleeping habits have changed significantly and it’s affecting your ability to live life normally, it may be time to reach out to a behavioral health professional.
Loss of Interest in Activities You Normally Enjoy
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one of the most prevalent and early signs of depression is a loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once highly enjoyable. If you’ve given up all or most of the activities that would normally make you happy, or if you still do those activities but you no longer derive any pleasure from them, it may be time to see a mental health professional.
Difficulty Concentrating and Memory Problems
If you’re feeling unusually forgetful or have difficulty concentrating when you historically haven’t had issues with focus or memory, these may be signs of depression.
Researchers have found that depression can affect your brain’s ability to process information, which in turn, can cause memory issues and changes in your ability to focus. You might get distracted easily, forget new information quickly, or lose your train of thought frequently.
Appetite Changes & Associated Weight Loss or Gain
Sudden changes in your eating patterns may be indicative of depression. For some people, depression causes a loss of interest in food and associated weight loss, which can be dramatic in some cases. In other individuals, depression triggers an increase in appetite and associated weight gain.
Unfortunately, dramatic changes in weight exacerbate symptoms of depression in many people, so if you’re experiencing this, it may be time to reach out for help.
Anxiety, Irritability, or Other Mood Disturbances
Not everyone who suffers from depression has co-occurring anxiety issues, but for many people, depression and anxiety go hand in hand. Emotional disturbances like sudden anger or irritability and drastic mood swings are also characteristic of depression. It’s not uncommon for people who suffer from the condition to display suppressed or overt anger rather than appearing sad.
This is not necessarily a complete list, and the presence of one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that someone has depression. Only a licensed mental health professional can determine if you or a loved one has depression. If you’re concerned you or someone you love may be suffering from depression, help is available. At Prime Behavioral Health, we specialize in psychiatry and TMS therapy to treat depression. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to speak with someone. You can reach us at 817-778-8884 or send us a message, and we’ll be in touch.