Life Events And Depression
Research suggests that continuing difficulties, such as long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness or prolonged exposure to stress at work can increase the risk of depression.
Significant adverse life events, such as losing a job, going through a separation or divorce, or being diagnosed with a serious illness, may also trigger depression, particularly among people who are already at risk because of genetic, developmental or other personal factors.
Signs That You Need Help Immediately
If you think you have some of the symptoms listed above, there is no reason to panic. It is important to pay attention to the warning signs and be responsible for your mental health. Below are some signs that can help you know that you or someone you know should seek help for depression immediately.
- Exhibiting reckless behavior
- Talking about suicide or self-harm
- Acting like everything is okay after long periods of showing depressive behaviors
- Starting to work on a will, selling things in their house, or telling people they love goodbye
Difficulty Experiencing Joy Or Connection
When were depressed, it can take all of the enjoyment out of the things we love and make it more difficult for us to connect to those closest to us. We may begin to lose interest in hobbies, friendships, schoolwork, social activities, sex or life in general. When this happens, we may find ourselves feeling isolated from friends, family members or others who care about us.
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Antenatal And Postnatal Depression
Women are at an increased risk of depression during pregnancy and in the year following childbirth . This time frame may also be referred to as the perinatal period.
The causes of depression at this time can be complex and are often the result of a combination of factors. In the days immediately following birth, many women experience the baby blues, which is a common condition related to hormonal changes, affecting up to 80 per cent of women who have given birth.
The baby blues, or the general stress of adjusting to pregnancy or a new baby, are common experiences, but are different from depression.
Depression is longer lasting and can affect not only the mother, but her relationship with her baby, the childs development, the mothers relationship with her partner and with other members of the family.
Up to one in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 per cent in the first three months after having a baby.
How Are You Managing How Is Your Depression
This can give you some insight into how their treatment is going or if they need help getting professional assistance.
Depression is a medical condition. Its not a flaw or weakness. Its important to assure them theyre not weak or defective. If someone you love has depression, encourage them to seek professional help if they havent already done so. Remind them that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Asking how their treatment is going can also encourage them to stick with their treatment plan. You may also tell them when youve noticed improvements. This can help validate its working, even if they dont always feel like it is.
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Take A Moment To Laugh
Laughter is a powerful way to instantly boost your mood. When you laugh or smile, it makes you feel happy and energetic. Even when you fake a smile or laugh, it has a positive impact on your mood and mindset.
When you feel stressed at work or overwhelmed in your life, take a moment to laugh. Put on a funny comedy or ask friends out for a night of joking and laughing. Spend time with loved ones who make you laugh with their activities, antics or behavior. When you laugh, it reduces your stress levels and makes you feel optimistic and positive.
Who Can Experience Depression Symptoms
Depression can happen to anyone and depression causes can vary from person to person. However, your age, gender and other circumstances in your life can have an impact on the likelihood of you suffering from a type of depression, whether that be dysthymia, bipolar depression or clinical depression. It might also impact the types of symptoms you experience.
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Know The Warning Signs Of Suicide
The risk of suicide is high in those living with depression. No matter what you say or what you do to help your friend, they may still experience suicidal thoughts and feelings. Make sure to be on the lookout for warning signs of suicide and know when to seek help.
Some signs to watch for include:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Expressing that they feel like a burden to others
- Feelings of extreme hopelessness and sadness
- Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
- Sudden mood swings
- Giving away possessions or making a will
- Making ambiguous statements about not being around in the future
- Open discussions about suicide or having a suicide plan
- Previous suicide attempts
If you spot warning signs of suicide, you should talk to your loved one and ask them to speak with a mental health professional. When there is an immediate risk, you should remove dangerous items from the home, make sure you don’t leave them alone, and get help from a medical professional immediately.
If you or someone you love are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being depressed.
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending ones life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
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How To Tell If Someone Is Dealing With Depression Be Cautious Of These 10 Signs
Depression has no face! We all have listened to this phrase. But on the flip side, we often get to read this that, be there for someone who is depressed. But, How do I tell if someone is depressed with it having no face?
This is the biggest dilemma! During my clinical days often a client used to look so content from his face and general life but by checking on a few important signs the picture of depression used to start knit together. That taught me an important lesson, depression doesnt have a face but it does have certain signs that an individual manifests in his daily life. All you have to do is, to be all ears and eyes to that person.
So, from my personal and clinical experience, and available literature I am going to share with you 10 checkpoints that will answer your question- How to tell if someone is depressed.
If Youre Experiencing Symptoms
- Recognize if youre starting to slip. If you are struggling with new or worsening symptoms, dont hesitate to seek help. If you already have a therapist, reach out to them right away. If you do not have one, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP for a free, confidential referral for treatment. If youre considering harming yourself, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 .
- Ignore incorrect attitudes. The old idea of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is not only outdated, but also not based in science. If you feel depressed, there is no cause for guilt, says Dr. Solomon.
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Changes In Appetite And Weight
Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others wont be hungry and will lose weight.
One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if theyre intentional or not. If theyre not, it may mean that theyre caused by depression.
People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first. Often people will talk about it or make a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- Listen, but dont judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Are There Warning Signs Of Suicide With Depression
Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Suicidal thoughts or intentions are serious. Warning signs include:
- A sudden switch from sadness to extreme calmness, or appearing to be happy
- Always talking or thinking about death
- Clinical depression that gets worse
- Taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
- Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
- Putting affairs in order, like tying up loose ends or changing a will
- Saying things like “It would be better if I weren’t here” or “I want out”
- Talking about suicide
- Visiting or calling close friends and loved ones
If you or someone you know shows any of the above warning signs, call your local suicide hotline, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room.
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Whats The Difference Between Grief And Depression
Given that the primary symptom associated with depression is sadness, it can be easy to think of grief or bereavement as depression. But grief is a natural response to specific experiences, such as the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. While you might feel regret or remorse, and you might withdraw from usual activities if you are experiencing grief, youre unlikely to feel the overwhelming sense of worthlessness, thoughts of self-harm or suicide, and other symptoms of depression. Another important difference is that in grief, painful feelings usually come in waves and are often mixed with positive memories.
American Family Physician
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone
Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.
Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.
Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.
Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
Ask About Their Culture
Problems are only problems in context. Not having pants that fit is a problem when youre getting dressed for work its not a problem before youre about to have sex. Culture is an ever-present context that follows people wherever they go.
If someone is describing a problem, and it doesnt make sense to you, then you may need to ask about their cultural background to understand the root of it. Arguing with a parent is harder if you come from a submissive culture. Speaking your mind feels intimidating if you were born in a hyper-polite Midwestern neighborhood. And being vulnerable can feel scarier if you were raised in a world of machismo.
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Taking Time To Manage Your Health
Taking time to manage your mental health is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you ignore your mental health, you may become overwhelmed with stress from your work and home life. By taking time to keep your mind and emotions in a healthy place, you will feel confident when taking on new tasks. Fortunately, mental health exercises only take a few minutes, or even seconds, to help you stay balanced and focused throughout your day.
Remind Them You’re There For Them
Depression can feel as though no one understands what you are feeling or even cares enough to try to understand, which can be isolating and overwhelming.
Research has shown that people tend to withdraw when they are depressed, so reaching out to a friend in need is an important first step. If your friend isn’t ready to talk, continue to offer your support by spending time with them and try to check in regularly, either in person, on the phone, or by text.
When you reach out to a friend, letting them know that you are going to be there every step of the way can be very reassuring.
You may not quite know what this will look like at first, but know that just reminding your friend that you are someone they can lean on can mean the world.
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What Can I Do To Help Today
Depression often causes fatigue, trouble sleeping, and a lack of motivation. Sometimes just getting out of bed can be hard.
Asking what you can do can really help them through their day.
Maybe theyre not eating well and you can pick up dinner. Maybe they need a morning call or text to ensure they get to work on time. Offering to do so is a way to let them know its OK to seek help.
Sometimes you just need to listen. Helping doesnt have to be a huge, drastic effort. It can be as simple as picking up a phone, sharing a meal, or driving them to an appointment.
Lifestyle Changes For Depression
Lifestyle changes, such as making art, journaling, exercising more, and practicing yoga or mindfulness, can also alleviate depression and the stress that can heighten it. Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and light therapy may also help.
Diet changes, too, can uplift your mood by reducing inflammation and helping to ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
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Major Or Clinical Depression
Major depression is much less common than mild or moderate and is characterized by severe, relentless symptoms.
- Left untreated, major depressive disorder typically lasts for about six months.
- Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but major depression can be a recurring disorder.