What Are The Signs
1. Youve been feeling low or irritable for most of the day, every day for two weeks or more. You might have found yourself worrying about past or future events for long periods of time, or simply feeling sad, cross or tearful. Sometimes its hard to recognize a gradual change have others noticed that you dont seem your usual self?
2. Youve lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Perhaps you have been seeing less of your friends or family recently, have stopped going to the gym, or cooking balanced meals. This is really about recognizing changes in whats normal for you no one is saying you have to exercise five times a week or eat your greens, but changes in your routine can offer concrete indications that your mood is changing.
3. You are struggling to concentrate. You might notice that you struggle to focus when reading or watching television, for example, or to follow the thread of a spoken conversation. This could be affecting your performance at work, or limiting your ability to perform routine tasks such as food shopping. Again, we are looking for a change in whats normal for you, so if concentration has always been something you find tricky there is little cause for concern.
If you recognize yourself in most or all of these signs, then it is probably time to seek a professional opinion.
How To Recognize Symptoms Of Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
If you or someone you know has unipolar or bipolar depression, you need to recognize the symptoms of depression and contact a doctor if they continue or grow more serious.
Simple Things To Do If You Are Feeling Sad Or Anxious
Since not everyone has access to therapy, what can they do to help themselves when they are sad?
There are many reasons you could feel sad, anxious or depressed.
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Perhaps, you are a university student who feels your life is stuck because of the ASUU strike, you are at a job you dont like, you have a toxic boss, you have relationship issues, you dont know what to do with your life, a loved one is sick, or you’re broke.
In recent times, the political and economic strain of this country has been making people feel sadder than usual.
What are some simple things that can be done?
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How To Tell If You Have Anxiety Depression Or Both
As you can see from the symptom descriptions, there is some cross-over between the two. In mental health, one of the more common comorbidities is that of depression and anxiety. This means that more than one disease or condition can be present in the same person at the same time. In fact, some studies show that 60% of those with anxiety will also have symptoms of depression and the numbers are similar for those with depression.
Anxiety and depression can occur sequentially, one after another, or they can co-occur, said Jerimya Fox, a licensed professional counselor and a doctor of behavioral health at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital. This is because the same neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine, are involved in both.
To meet the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder or depression, however, symptoms must be persistent and impairing.
For anxiety, these must persist for several months, and for depression a couple weeks, Dr. Fox said.
To assess the severity of your symptoms, Dr. Fox suggests the following:
- Ask a trusted family member or friend if they have noticed changes in your behavior.
- Recognize the severity of your symptoms: mild, moderate or severe.
- Track your thoughts and symptoms. How often are you getting sick? How often are you having racing thoughts? How often are you having difficulty getting out of bed?
What Treatment Should I Be Offered
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.
Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.
NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.
Step 1: Everyone who may have depression
Your doctor should offer you:
- an assessment of your symptoms,
- support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
- information on how to deal with your symptoms,
- monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 2: Mild to moderate depression
Your doctor may offer you:
- low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- physical activity programmes,
- group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked
Your doctor may suggest:
Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:
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Loss Of Interest In Things You Once Enjoyed
Sometimes we lose interest in things we used to love. We may no longer be as interested in reading as we once were, or we may find that sports or artistic outlets we once enjoyed have lost their luster.
As we get older and our life experiences change, some things just naturally fall by the wayside.
But when you find that even mustering up the energy to do activities becomes a challenge, it may be something more than just the natural waning of your interest.
When you live with depression, these activities like hanging out with friends or even doing simple household chores can seem pointless.
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Positive lifestyle changes can help lift depression and keep it from coming back.
Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems whether youre sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.
Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload, money problems, or unsupportive relationships, and find ways to relieve the pressure and regain control.
Practice relaxation techniques.A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.
Spend time in sunlight. Getting outside during daylight hours and exposing yourself to the sun can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Take a walk, have your coffee outside, do some yard work, or double up on the benefits by exercising outdoors. If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
Develop a wellness toolbox to deal with depression
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more tools for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if youre feeling good.
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If Left Unmanaged Stress Can Lead To Depression
Posted January 8, 2016
Feeling stressed out? Youre not alone. Seventy-two percent of adults surveyed by the American Psychological Association reported feeling stressed out at least some of the time during the past month.
Regardless of what youre stressing about, stress can quickly turn into a problem when it builds and starts to cause wear and tear on your bodyand your overall mental state. In fact, if left unmanaged stress can actually lead to depression.
Chronic stress leads to physical changes in your brain and body, changes in the way youre thinking, and ultimately to changes in the way youre behaving.
Stressed out people are more likely to engage in unhelpful and unhealthy behaviors like overeating, smoking, drinking, and dropping out of important activities like exercising and socializing. And all of this can increase the likelihood that your stress turns into depression.
So how can you tell if youre just stressed out or are suffering from depression? Essentially the answer lies in the severity and the duration of your symptoms.
Feeling stressed out is usually associated with feeling overwhelmed or under pressure. As you know, I believe the term stressed out is a generalization we use to really just say that were having a hard time coping with distressing emotions such as fear or sadness.
Feeling sad and hopeless
Lack of energy, enthusiasm and motivation
Withdrawing from other people
Eating more or less than usual
Can Depression Be A Symptom Of Other Mental Health Problems
Depression can be a part of several mental health problems, such as:
If feelings of low mood or suicidal thoughts are the reason you first speak to your doctor about your mental health, your GP might offer you treatment for depression without realising that you are also experiencing other symptoms.
If you think you’re experiencing other symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about this to make sure you’re getting the right treatment to help you. See our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem for information on how to make sure your voice is heard, and what you can do if you’re not happy with your doctor.
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How Do You Deal With A Partner Who Has Depression
When youre focused on helping a partner with depression, its easy to neglect your own mental and physical health. Make a plan for self-care that addresses your physical, emotional, and social needs. A person who is exercising, getting enough rest, and doing activities they enjoy is in a better position to support their partner with depression.
Also, dont be afraid to tap into your social network. Let friends and family members step up to help care for you and your partner. Depression is nothing to be ashamed about, and the more connected you are to others, the less pressure there is on your relationship with your partner.
It can also be useful to talk with a therapist about your life and challenges. Mental health professionals understand the facets of depression as well as the strain it can put on romantic relationships.
Losing Interest In Activities
Your child may naturally lose interest in things they once loved, like a favorite toy or TV show, or suddenly declare that they no longer want to engage in a favorite activity. This is different from a child with depression.
A depressed child has a hard time finding joy or excitement in anything. Your child may be indifferent to almost everything. Kids who are depressed often seem like they are just going through the motions without any joy or pleasure in what they are doing.
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What Is The #1 Cause Of Depression
The number one cause of depression is the tough stuff, the major life events that go wrong, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University. Depression can occur when people experience adverse life events such as the death of someone close, the loss of a job, or some type of psychological trauma. Depression can lead to more stress and dysfunction, which can worsen the depression itself.
There also is a connection between depression and physical health. For instance, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression .4,5
Thankfully, there are effective treatments for depression. We know that depression is a very treatable condition and that over 80 percent of people who receive appropriate treatment for their depression will improve significantly, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. Unfortunately, the large majority of people with depression never get appropriate treatment.
You Have Another Illness Such As Psychosis Anxiety Adhd Or A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are a lot like other conditions. They can be hard to separate and diagnose.
For example, mania can feature psychotic symptoms. You might think youâre famous or have superpowers. On the flip side, with manic depression, you might think youâve ruined your life in some dramatic way.
People with bipolar disorder also can have:
- A physical disorder such as diabetes, obesity, migraines, or thyroid or heart disease
- Substance abuse problems
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Searching For The Root Of Your Depression
Identifying Changes In Behavior
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Am I Actually Depressed Or Just Sad
My heart sank as I heard my friends response after revealing how I had been feeling recently. Oh, come on now, your life is going great. You just have the blues, it will pass. I shrugged my shoulders and sipped some tea, wondering what to say next. The problem was that it didnt pass, my symptoms were remaining the same, and each passing day was a struggle to get through.
When a person is depressed, their symptoms could manifest in different ways. Some symptoms of depression could include:
- Fatigue, even feeling like getting out of bed can be challenging, let alone working.
- Negative thinking, even when life is seemingly going well for the person. Lack of hope for the future, even if others see hope in the persons life.
- Isolating behavior can occur, a person who is normally social may choose to stay home most of the time.
- Losing interest in activities that are usually fun for the person.
- Dark thoughts can occur, even suicidal thoughts if the depression is severe.
These are a few examples of symptoms of clinical depression. For a more comprehensive list of symptoms, you can check out this website.
One important thing to remember is that situational blues can trigger clinical depression in some people. For example, if a person loses a loved one suddenly and still feels extremely sad every day two years later, then they may be suffering from clinical depression, and should ask their doctor about it.
If youre feeling down, what should you do?