Tuesday, June 11, 2024

What Does Depression Look Like

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How To Help Someone Who May Be Experiencing Depression

What does depression feel like?

If you are currently experiencing one or more of these symptoms, its okay to seek support. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 303-492-2277 to access 24/7 crisis support from Counseling and Psychiatric Services .

If you notice a roommate, friend or classmate experiencing any of these symptoms, here are a few things you can do to help:

What Do I Do If Im Worried That A Relative Or Friend Has Depression Or Anxiety

If you think a friend or relative is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, try to talk to them about it.

You may feel uncomfortable bringing up a sensitive topic, especially if the person you’re concerned about doesn’t often talk about their emotions. Explain why you are concerned but avoid diagnosing their problem or forcing solutions.

They may be unwilling to talk about it, but let them know that you’re willing to listen when they’re ready.

There are various ways you can help them, such as:

  • Offer your support, listen and reassure them that how theyre feeling can be improved.
  • Stay in touch, call or visit regularly. The risk of depression increases when people feel alone and unsupported.
  • Encourage them to make an appointment with their GP or another health professional. Offer to go with them to appointments.
  • Encourage them to keep active and healthy. Plan occasional outings to get them out of the house.

Supporting a relative or friend with depression can be both rewarding and stressful. There is information and support for carers where you can get help for the difficulties you experience. Contact Carers Direct, Carers UK and the Carers Trust for more information.

Types Of Diagnostic Tools

Researchers have been using such scales since the 1960s. One of the first, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, is still sometimes used today. However, there are many more scales available that are better suited for doctors to use with patients. There are even scales patients can use on their own to track or self-report depression symptoms.

While scales can offer key insights, they tend to be quite different from one another. The way they are administered, the questions they ask, and the way the answers are interpreted may not be the same from one scale to the next.

The inconsistencies of the tools, their use, and interpretation can make it challenging to determine the severity of someones depression, as different scales may provide different results. That said, when used along with other diagnostic measures and the judgment of an experienced clinician, the scales can be useful tools.

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What You Can Do To Feel Better

When youre depressed, it can feel like theres no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.

Reach out to other people. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or dont want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you. They just need to be a good listenersomeone wholl listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.

Get moving. When youre depressed, just getting out of bed can seem daunting, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.

Eat a mood boosting diet. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.

Structural Changes In The Brain

This Is What Depression Can Look Like

Structural changes are more easily tracked and studied than neurotransmitter changes, so those are somewhat better understood than the neurotransmitter side.

Here are some of the critical changes that depression can cause in your brain.

Hippocampus: Your hippocampus is involved in memory processing, processing space, and movement. When its impacted, you may experience memory retention and processing changes. You may also experience changes in movement and coordination which is why people with depression may be noted to be moving faster or slower than average.

Thalamus: Your thalamus communicates information between your pre-frontal cortex and brain stem.

Amygdala: Your amygdala is involved in processing emotions and memory, and structural changes to the amygdala may be involved in emotional regulation problems in depression and changes in the emotional content of memories.

There may be other changes, and these changes may be related to depression or other situations, including medication conditions, medications, or experiences.

Not everyone with depression will have these kinds of structural changes, and the extent of any existing changes may differ between patients. Thats important to note because everyone who has depression is going to have a different experience of the condition as well as different symptoms and symptom presentations.

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Physical Symptoms Often Accompany Psychological Ones

There is hardly a disease that has a greater impact on a persons overall well-being than depression. In fact, the level of stress for those affected and their relatives is enormously high. This is because depression can affect the experience, thinking, behavior and even the body itself.

There are complaints that are often accompanied by a depressive episode, although they are not directly related to the symptoms of depression. For example, experiencing severe exhaustion for two weeks doesnt just pass the body by unnoticed. Physical symptoms can even include cardiac or gastrointestinal complaints. As a result of sleep disorders, many people experience a worsening of their depressive symptoms in the morning, compared to this midday or evening. Due to their exhaustion, those affected often avoid social interaction and also withdraw from friends. Movements can become noticeably slower or accelerated to numbness or nervousness. In addition, for some, the libido can be reduced: they no longer feel a desire for sex.

In extreme cases, psychotic symptoms can occur. These can manifest themselves as delusional feelings of guilt, ideas of catastrophe, or in the form of hallucinations. When a severely depressed person seems to be frozen and is extremely slow in speaking, thinking and movements, experts also speak of depressive stupor.

What Are The Different Antidepressants And How Do They Work

All antidepressants can have side effects, but some may be more problematic than others. You may need to try several different medications, or a combination, guided by your doctor, before you find what works best for you.

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The Physical Signs Of Depression

While its important we dont self-diagnose ourselves or others, and acknowledge that depression feels different for everyone, common signs include:

  • lack of energy, tiredness, and/or fatigue
  • restlessness and agitation

Some people externalise their feelings of depression and become irritable and angry, while others may internalise their feelings and become sad and withdrawn. Some people may do a combination of the two, or alternate between them.

Its important not to stereotype. Every persons experience is different. What matters is how much these feelings impact someones ability to function, and whether theyre getting worse, becoming painful, or getting difficult to manage.

Depression doesnt always have an obvious trigger. But it can also develop as a response to difficult circumstances. Stress can trigger depression, and exacerbate and prolong it.

If you recognise some of the above symptoms in yourself, you may feel pretty helpless right now. But there is hope!

Most people recover from bouts of depression. Some people even look back on it as an experience that helped them take stock of their life and make changes.

Start by talking to friends and family, then consider seeing your GP, who can explore further options with you.


Which Types Of Talk Therapy Work Best For Depression

What does depression look like?
  • Behavioral activation therapy The aim of this type of therapy is to reverse the downward spiral of depression by encouraging you to seek out experiences and activities that give you joy.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on changing specific negative thought patterns so that you are able to better respond to challenging and stressful situations.
  • Interpersonal therapy This very structured, time-limited form of therapy focuses on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances directly related to your current depressive mood.
  • Problem-solving therapy This therapy is a form of CBT that teaches take-charge skills that help you solve real-life problems and stressors, big and small, that contribute to depression.
  • Self-management/self-control therapy This type of behavioral therapy trains you to lessen your negative reactions to events and reduce your self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.

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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment

If you are not happy with your treatment you can:

  • talk to your doctor to see if they can suggest changes,
  • get an advocate to help you speak your doctor,
  • ask for a second opinion if you feel it would help,
  • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
  • make a complaint.

There is more information about these options below.


An advocate is independent from the NHS. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.

There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. They arent available in all areas.

You can ask an advocate to help you make a complaint. Advocates that do this are called NHS complaints advocates. They are free to use and don t work for the NHS. They re available in all areas.

You can search online to search for a local advocacy service. If you cant find a service you can call our advice service 0808 801 0525 . You can email us too at . We will look for you.

Second opinion

Talk to your doctor about your treatment to see if you can resolve the problem with them first. If you dont agree with their decisions about diagnosis or treatment, you could ask for a second opinion. You are not legally entitled to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to it if it would help with treatment options.



  • Advocacy by clicking here.

What Causes Depression Or Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can happen for no obvious reason. But in many cases it can be triggered by certain life events, such as:

These situations might make anyone feel low and not everyone who experiences these goes on to develop depression. But thinking about any triggers can help you understand your feelings.

Everyone feels down from time to time, but if you’ve not been feeling yourself for a while it’s time to talk to someone like your doctor, nurse or a trusted friend or family member.

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Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares what it means to have ‘existential depression,’ featuring Melissa & Doug’s co-founder Melissa Bernstein.

Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify /

Symptoms of depression can occur along a spectrum both in duration and severity. Mild depression can occur during periods of stress but resolve with time and may not require any specific treatment. Moderate to severe depression causes chronic symptoms and usually requires at least one form of treatment, if not multiple treatments.

Generally speaking, severe depression requires some type of treatment to find some relief. Additionally, depression severity can change over time, growing increasingly worse or alternating between mild and severe during the same depressive episode.

If someone has severe depression, they may self-harm, have suicidal thoughts, or be at risk for attempting suicide. If you are severely depressed, help is available to help you manage your symptoms and ensure your safety and well-being.

Signs Of An Episode Of Major Depression

What Does Depression Look Like?  Despair and Back Again

Anyone with PDD is also at risk of experiencing episodes of major depression. In fact, most people with PDD will have one such episode at least once in their lives. For some people with PDD it may feel as if the persistent, low-level depression may take a turn into severe depression at any time. While the two conditions are similar and may occur in the same person, there are some significant differences.

Two important differences are duration and severity. PDD persists over a long period of time, two years or more, while major depression occurs in episodes that are shorter-lived but still at least two weeks long. The symptoms are similar but more severe during an episode of major depression.

Also significant is the distinction between functioning. Someone with PDD functions at a typical level, but during an episode of major depression that functioning will slide. They may begin to perform more poorly at school or work, be unable to complete certain responsibilities, skip activities they normally participate in, become socially withdrawn, or even let self-care and personal hygiene slide.

Begin Your Recovery Journey.

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What Does Depression Feel Like Trust Me You Really Dont Want To Know

Darker than grief, an implosion of the self, a sheet of ice: no matter how you describe it, this is a terrifying state to be trapped in

This is Depression Awareness Week, so it must be hoped that during this seven-day period more people will become more aware of a condition that a minority experience, and which most others grasp only remotely confusing it with more familiar feelings, such as unhappiness or misery.

This perception is to some extent shared by the medical community, which cant quite make its mind up whether depression is a physical illness, rooted in neurochemistry, or a negative habit of thought that can be addressed by talking or behavioural therapies.

Im not concerned about which of these two models is the more accurate. Im still not sure myself. My primary task here is to try to explain something that remains so little understood as an experience despite the endless books and articles on the subject. Because if the outsider cannot really conceptualise serious depression, the 97.5% who do not suffer from it will be unable to really sympathise, address it or take it seriously.

There is a heavy, leaden feeling in your chest, rather as when someone you love dearly has died but no one has except, perhaps, you. You feel acutely alone. It is commonly described as being like viewing the world through a sheet of plate glass it would be more accurate to say a sheet of thick, semi-opaque ice.

Depression Feels Like Body Aches

Research has shown that physical symptoms like pain are linked to depression, possibly due to an imbalance of chemical messengers in the brain.

The neurotransmitters that play a role in pain perception, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, are the same ones that play a role in mood regulation, explains Israel.

With depression, the threshold for pain decreases, so you may experience pain in the joints and muscles, she says. You may experience more frequent headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, or fibromyalgia.

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What Does Severe Depression Feel Like

Severe depression is classified as having the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, but the symptoms are severe and noticeable, even to your loved ones.

Episodes of major depression last an average of six months or longer. Sometimes severe depression can go away after a while, but it can also be recurrent for some people.

Diagnosis is especially crucial in severe depression, and it may even be time-sensitive.

Major forms of depression may also cause:

  • suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Severe depression requires medical treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely recommend an SSRI and some form of talk therapy.

If youre experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you should seek immediate medical attention. Call your local emergency services or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 right away.

When You Suffer From Depression ‘im Tired’ Means A Permanent State Of Exhaustion That Sleep Doesnt Fix Sleep Just Isnt Sleep Anymoreits Escape

When Depression Doesnt Look Like Depression with Terry Real, MSW, LICSW

There are few things more energizing than waking up from a good nights sleep feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Alas, no matter how many hours someone with the overwhelming emotional fatigue that comes with clinical depression sleeps he or she awakes to that stomach-drop feeling of Oh no, Ive got to get through another full day before I can go to back to bed. No matter what age you are, emotionally you feel as if you are 100-years-old. You drag yourself with leaden feet through daily chores, counting down the hours until you can lie down and shut out the world again.

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