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Symptoms of Depression | 7 Signs That It Isn't Just Momentary Sadness or Passing Blues

Symptoms of Depression | 7 Signs That It Isn't Just Momentary Sadness or Passing Blues

You. Are. Not. Alone. Do not ignore these symptoms of depression and if you are suffering from it, get help immediately.

Feeling blue. Under the weather. Feeling down.  There are many ways to describe that feeling of dread and sadness. Sadness, like every other emotion, comes and goes. And like every other emotion, it needs to be validated and processed. But when do you know that it is not just momentary feeling or just a passing phase of pain? Depression is a clinical condition that can be overwhelming and exhausting. 

Whether you're the one suffering from it or you know someone who may be going through it, it's important to be informed. The most important step is awareness. Only when you recognize what exactly is going on, can you heal from it. 

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What is depression?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Medical News Today defines the disorder as persistent sadness, feeling down, having a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities that substantially affect your life. And it affects nearly 350 million people globally, says the World Health Organization

What are the symptoms of the illness?

1. Loss of interest or pleasure

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This symptom often goes unnoticed. Feeling a loss of interest or pleasure in the things that you once enjoyed is a major tell-tale sign of depression, according to Medical News Today. Anhedonia is the term used to define the inability or reduced capacity to experience pleasure or joy. Finding a loved one suddenly disinterested in activities they once took pleasure in should be your first warning sign and an indication to find help for them. 

2. Weight loss or weight gain 

Eating too much or eating too less is a sign of depression. For some people, the low mood associated with depression can cause a sudden increase in appetite; this is when stress or other emotional triggers would lead them to reach out for comfort food. While for others, the symptom might express itself as a loss of appetite, causing weight loss, according to a report in the American Journal of Psychiatry study

3. Insomnia or abnormal sleep habits

Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep is a common sign of depression. Where someone might experience insomnia wherein they find it difficult to fall asleep, some others might experience hypersomnia wherein they sleep for long stretches of time. According to the DSM 5, insomnia or hypersomnia, nearly every day is a symptom of major depressive disorder. This lack of quality sleep can also lead to anxiety.

4. Intense fatigue

While everyone is prone to feel tired once in a while, feeling tired persistently or waking up with a sense of fatigue is another symptom of depression, according to the Mayo clinic. The sense of tiredness is not just physical, someone experiencing depression may also feel a sense of emotional exhaustion and mental fatigue.

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5. Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem

It is not uncommon for someone with depression to doubt themselves or feel they are not good enough for their job, partner, or other things. According to the Mayo Clinic, this symptom is accompanied by feelings of guilt or fixating on past failures or self-blame. There could also be anger as sadness isn't the only emotion experienced in depression, 

From feelings of worthlessness and guilt to anger and irritability, all of these point to depression, especially when coupled with the other symptoms. Mood changes are very common amongst those depressed, according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. 

6. Loss of concentration and memory

All of us have moments when we forget things or get a bit confused. However, when memory loss and an inability to concentrate starts to become more frequent and it is accompanied by other symptoms, it could indicate depression.  In a 2014 study on the link between concentration or memory loss and depression, it was found that these difficulties with concentration can make social life for the person worse, thus pushing them further into the illness. 

7. Physical aches and pains

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Depression may be a mental condition, but it can also manifest in the form of physical pain. Physical symptoms like backaches, headaches, digestive issues, heart issues, and other ailments, according to Medical News Today.

What to do if you have these symptoms?

If you think you have depression or you can identify more than a few symptoms, please reach out to a professional therapist or local social worker. If that seems overwhelming, you can talk to a trusted friend or relative. Once you begin to start talking about your feelings and experiences, things can seem a lot less lonely or overwhelming. If you need to talk to someone, you can reach out to online helplines. In case of suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or The Samaritans: (877) 870-4673 (HOPE). 

No matter how difficult it might be, take the first step and talk to someone. You are not alone. Give yourself that chance.

References:

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/depression-causes-symptoms-treatments-8933

https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325513.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818200/

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/recognizing-symptoms#fatigue

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40263-018-0490-z

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090311

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3959025/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880066/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/depression-hotline-numbers/

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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