You might assume that it would be obvious if you are suffering from depression, but not everyone is able to recognize the symptoms of depression in themselves and although you might be aware that something is not quite right in your world, how do you know if your depressed, or just having a bad day?
Depression is not just a short period of time where you feel a bit blue. Depression is an illness where the symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years. Unfortunately, because of the stigma attached to mental health issues, many people are reluctant to admit that they are ill and need help, so they cling on to the belief that they are simply feeling a bit stressed or tired rather than suffering from depression.
How do you know if your depressed?
The symptoms of depression will vary between different individuals, but if you have suffered from at least five of the main symptoms for more than two weeks, you are probably suffering from a bout of depression and would benefit from some medical help.
What are the main symptoms of depression?
The main symptom of depression is an all-pervading sense of sadness and hopelessness. Low moods are perfectly normal in most people, but a low mood that lasts for weeks, or longer, is cause for concern.
The other main symptom of depression is a loss of interest in things that would normally give you pleasure, such as hobbies or sporting interests. If you find that you have no interest in doing the activities you normally love and this state of affairs (in conjunction with a low and depressed mood) has lasted for more than two weeks, you are probably suffering from depression.
Other symptoms of depression include the following:
- Sleep problems are common on those suffering from depression. You might have difficulty falling asleep at bedtime, or you might find yourself waking up at frequent intervals. Other people are so tired and lethargic that they want to sleep all the time.
- Changes in appetite and unexplained weight loss are symptoms of depression. If you have no appetite and you cannot be bothered to eat from one day to the next, consider the possibility that you might be suffering from depression.
- Guilt and a sense of worthlessness are typical in depressed people. Do you continually rake over past events and beat yourself up over perceived crimes?
- Are you having problems concentrating at work or in school?
- Are you finding it difficult to make a decision about anything?
- Lastly, obsessive thoughts about death and suicide are an indication of severe clinical depression, so please seek help immediately if you or somebody you know has thought about or mentioned suicide.
As well as the psychological symptoms of depression, many patients also experience vague physical symptoms including aches and pains, headaches, and sexual dysfunction, all of which can be indicators of a depressed state of mind.
It is very important to remember that depression is not a sign of weakness: it is an illness and it can be treated. If you are concerned that you might be suffering from depression, please ask your doctor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible.