Are friends and family complaining about your erratic moods and sudden behavioural changes? Is your favourite food failing to tempt you or your favourite song sounding too blah? It’s probably time to sit up and take notice as these signs might indicate a case of depression. Depression is a serious medical condition that can affect your mental, emotional and physical health. The good news is that there are ways and techniques to treat the condition; but first, it is critical to know the obvious as well as the not-so-obvious signs of depression:
Changes in Appetite
Loss of appetite can be an early sign of depression. A study done in 2009 at the University of Alabama (Birmingham) reported that depressed individuals have a tendency to gain weight faster as compared to nondepressed individuals. Eating habits often change when a person is suffering from depression. Some tend to overeat and gain weight while others don’t feel like eating at all and gradually experience weight loss.
Heard about insomnia? Insomnia is a condition related to poor sleep and is also a common symptom of depression. A research published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience claims that about three quarters of depressed patients have insomnia symptoms and about 40 per cent of young depressed adults and 10 per cent of older patients suffer from hypersomnia (excessive sleeping). These symptoms can have a serious impact on quality of life and may cause huge amounts of distress.
Thoughts of Suicide
Suicide thoughts might haunt an individual when he/she is going through some adverse life situation(s) such as the loss of a job, death of a loved one and so on. People going through anxiety or depression may be at a greater risk of developing suicidal thoughts. According to data published in Annals of General Psychiatry, between 59 to 87 per cent of suicide victims are severe depression patients.
Constant Aches or Pains
A research conducted at the University of Texas’ Southwest Medical School claims that physical pain and depression have a deeper biological connection. Researchers also inform that severe physical symptoms indicate a greater degree of depression. Serotonin and norepinephrine are the neurotransmitters that influence both pain and mood. An imbalance in these transmitters is also linked to depression.
Feelings of Worthlessness
A research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that vulnerability to depression is associated with a tendency to blame oneself for any kind of failure. The continuous blame game results in hopelessness and decreased self-worth, thereby leading to greater depression. Another study conducted among 132 patients with major depressive disorders found that depressed mood and hopelessness were the regular symptoms affecting more than 90 per cent of the patients.
While these symptoms are serious; depression can be slowly and effectively treated in consultation with specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and sleep specialists. Treatments typically include medication therapy, lifestyle changes, stress management and counselling.