Depression: Symptoms to watch out for

January 19, 2017

Depression is a common mental illness but what does it really mean? It’s important to be aware of the symptoms to watch out for in case it develops. Sure, most of us feel sad, lonely or depressed at times. And feeling depressed is a normal reaction to loss or life’s struggles. But when these feelings become overwhelming they can stop you leading a normal life and be time to seek help from your doctor.

If left untreated, symptoms of clinical or major depression may worsen and last for months or sometimes even years. They can cause untold suffering and possibly lead to suicide. More than one out of every 10 people battling depression commits suicide.

Educate yourself on the symptoms of depression to ensure you seek help before it escalates to that level.

Download the UK Family’s Pocket Guide to Common Mental Illnesses and Disorders

What Are Symptoms of Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Healthsymptoms of depression may include the following:

Physiological symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headachescramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Physical Symptoms:

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight (decrease or increase)
  • physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • feeling tired and lacking energy; doing less and less
  • losing interest in sex
  • disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning), or sleeping more

Social Symptoms:

  • not doing well at work or taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with your friends
  • distancing yourself from others; not asking for support
  • neglecting hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home and family life
  • using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual.

If you find you are experiencing several of the above symptoms and that life is seeming to be overwhelming it may be time to seek help. Contacting your local GP is the best place to start to talk things through with them and to enable them to signpost you to other mental health services. There is no shame in suffering from depression it is a common mental illness and if treated can be arrested and cured.

If you are suffering from mild to moderate depression a doctor might likely recommend treatment in the form of talking therapies. Talking things through with a counsellor or psychotherapist can really help and a course in CBT cognitive behavioural therapy can also be recommended. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aims to help you understand your thoughts and behaviour and how they affect you.

If you are suffering from moderate to severe depression a course in medication is often recommended and this would be anti-depressants, medication that can be life-saving.

Your doctor may recommend a course of anti-depressants. It is important to remember this may be a short-term intervention and you may not be on the medication for a long period of time but just until you maintain stability again.

If you are suffering from moderate to severe depression, your doctor may refer you to local mental health services that can help. Here at Bridge, we have a bank of support workers who can support you on your journey from illness to recovery. Contact us today to start your personal journey to health and wellbeing.

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