What Are the Signs of Depression?

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Signs of Depression

You can’t remember exactly when it began, but you started feeling different somehow. You weren’t just sad. It’s not that you were crying all the time or complaining about how bad things seemed in life. Instead, there was just this weight and persistent emptiness inside of you. Things you used to be really passionate and excited about had lost all their allure.

Getting out of bed in the morning seems more difficult every day and time seems to have slowed down. Going through your daily routine seems like wading through sludge; you constantly feel kind of down and sluggish.

After a while, things don’t seem to be changing much. In fact, they just seem to be getting emptier. It feels like the world’s color has dulled and everything has become washed out. What is the point of continuing on in life? There are no more dreams or desires or goals. There’s just nothing.

If you’ve ever felt like that or know someone who has, you’re not alone. You’ve probably heard that before, but it’s really true. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.” Millions of people suffer from depression each year. In 2017, the NIMH estimated that 17.3 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode. That’s a lot of people — almost 7.1% of all American adults.

At SUN Behavioral Columbus, we’re here to reach out and connect with you and everyone in our local communities. Our goal is to bring you and your loved ones the quality mental health care that you need. Together, we can help diagnose and provide personalized treatment to help you get a handle on your depression and help you live a healthier and happier life.

What Is Depression?

When you get diagnosed with depression, it’s perfectly normal to have some questions about depression. In fact, it’s great that you have questions! We support our patients throughout treatment and empower them to take charge of their own health and actively participate in their recovery journey.

When you’re informed about a depression diagnosis, you can better understand the obstacles and challenges that you’ll face in your life and learn how to work through issues as they arise. One of the first steps toward tackling depression is to learn more about what depression is.

Depression is a kind of mood disorder and one of the most common mental illnesses. The symptoms of depression can affect your everyday activities and make it difficult to carry out a routine that you used to easily accomplish before. Simple tasks like eating, showering, or washing dishes can seem like a monumental task. Thinking and feeling are heavily affected by depression. According to the NIMH, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks to receive a diagnosis of depression.

Depression can occur at any age, to anybody, although it is usually seen more often in adults than children or adolescents. Physical illnesses such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, or cancer can occur at the same time as depression. Sometimes, depression can worsen your physical health and aggravate any underlying conditions. Additionally, some side effects from medication that are used to treat a variety of physical illnesses can also affect depression, so any medication should be carefully monitored and taken under the supervision of a medical professional.

There are a variety of factors for why you might experience depression. The exact cause of depression is a bit complicated. A mix of factors include genetics, environment, and psychological history. For example, you might struggle with a chemical imbalance thanks to a drop in serotonin levels during the winter months. Meanwhile, someone you know might be struggling with depression that seems to have arisen after the loss of a close family member.

Risk factors such as trauma, a family history of depression, sudden life changes, increased stress, physical illness, and medication, can all put someone at a higher risk of experiencing depression, although it is no guarantee. Every person is unique and no two people necessarily experience depression the same way. 

Identifying Symptoms of Depression

The following symptoms are some of the most common signs of depression. Usually, if you’re struggling with depression, you probably experience at least some of these symptoms every day, for at least two weeks straight. Most diagnoses of depression can be made following the two-week mark of experiencing symptoms.

Although these are some of the most common symptoms of depression, no two people are alike. Even if your symptoms seem a bit different from what is commonly described, don’t hesitate to seek help! Mental illness can affect different people in different ways and doesn’t mean that just because you don’t neatly fit into the common symptoms, that you shouldn’t be properly diagnosed by a medical professional.

Common signs and symptoms of depression can include

  • Constant feelings of sadness and emptiness
  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness
  • Pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Increased fatigue and lack of energy
  • Moving slowly (or even talking slower than usual)
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Trouble sleeping, including oversleeping or getting poor quality sleep
  • Unusual appetite or weight changes
  • Aches and pains that are seemingly unrelated to another physical condition
  • Thinking a lot about death
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

No matter how many symptoms you are experiencing, seeking help is still the best way you can help play an active role in managing your health. Whether you experience all of these symptoms or can only relate to a few, the possibility of experiencing depression should not be easily discounted.

Depression can vary in severity depending on the case. You could have a more or less severe case than someone else, but it doesn’t mean that your experience with depression doesn’t deserve proper attention and treatment. We encourage everyone who needs help, no matter the severity of the case, to get the help they need.

In fact, properly diagnosing and treating depression while it is not as severe is even better than waiting until it potentially reaches a critical stage. In more severe depression cases, a patient has an increased likelihood of dealing with more complications and can be at an elevated risk of hurting themselves or others. We encourage everyone to seek treatment at the first onset of any mental illness to get a good handle on it early.

Different Types of Depression

Did you know that there are many different types of depression?

The variety amongst different types of depression is part of the reason why getting a proper diagnosis is important. Understanding what kind of depression you are struggling with can affect the way we go about treating you.

These are some of the different types of depressive disorders that have been identified.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Persistent depressive disorder is a condition where you can experience the symptoms of depression and an overall depressed mood and state for at least two years. In essence, this is a very prolonged, drawn-out, kind of depression. It is a chronic form of depression.

Some people might experience persistent depressive disorder as a kind of cycle. There may be certain periods of major depression along with some periods of less severe depression. Nevertheless, this condition is diagnosed based on the amount of time that symptoms last: at least two years.

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

Postpartum depression is sometimes referred to as the “baby blues,” but this is an inaccurate comparison. The baby blues is a period of about two weeks following delivery where a mother might experience mood swings and feelings of sadness. It’s common to cry a lot, feel persistently moody, overwhelmed, and have trouble sleeping or making decisions. Many women might also doubt their capabilities as a mother during this period. Thankfully, this condition typically lasts only a couple of weeks following delivery.

PPD, however, is entirely different. It does not go away quite so easily, although it is a fairly common experience. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 7 women experience PPD. PPD is more severe than the baby blues and can persist for months or even years. 

Common symptoms of PPD include

  • Feeling exhausted but having trouble falling asleep
  • Constantly feeling sad or crying without knowing why
  • Oversleeping
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Unexplained bone aches, pains, and colds
  • Feeling more anxious, nervous, and angry than usual
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Feeling a loss or lack of control
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Becoming indecisive over simple choices
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Difficulty connecting with your baby
  • Wondering why you aren’t as joyful as you expected to be once you had the baby
  • Feeling like you’re an unworthy or bad mother
  • Withdrawing from your baby
  • Wanting to escape from everything, including your family
  • Experiencing intrusive thoughts
  • Wanting to hurt yourself or your baby

While these symptoms can appear right after delivery, they can also appear weeks or months later, taking a mother by surprise.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is essentially a severe case of depression with an accompanying case of psychosis. If you have psychosis, you can experience delusions or hallucinations. Delusions are defined by the NIMH as “having disturbing false fixed beliefs” and hallucinations as “hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see.”

The psychotic symptoms tend to center around a particular theme like illness or worthlessness, for example. Some people may experience symptoms of psychosis but firmly believe their delusions or hallucinations to be true, at times making it difficult to admit they need help.

Common symptoms of psychotic depression include

  • Agitation, especially out of the blue
  • Increased anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Hypochondria (condition of being excessively worried about having a serious illness)
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Physical immobility
  • Neglecting physical hygiene
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

Psychosis can look different in different people. Some may hear voices telling them things about how worthless they are. Others might be paranoid about other people, thinking they are planning to hurt them or can somehow hear their thoughts. Other possibilities include believing you are wanted by the police for doing something that you didn’t actually do.

There is a wide range of possible delusions and hallucinations when it comes to psychosis. However, psychotic depression’s delusions and hallucinations generally revolve around common themes of depression. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that affects millions of people each year. This kind of depression is closely tied to the changing seasons and weather. Usually, SAD symptoms begin in the fall and subside as spring comes around, coinciding with longer and sunnier days. It is often associated with treatments such as light therapy, since the lack of light in many parts of the world during winter can affect many people. 

Generally, if you struggle with SAD, you’ll notice yourself having less energy during the winter months and being moodier. Symptoms of depression can begin to set in during the winter, making it a difficult time of year for many people.

SAD is more than just “winter blues.” This is a serious condition that deserves recognition and treatment to help manage symptoms and keep lots of people feeling better in the winter months.

Common symptoms of SAD include

  • Feeling depressed for the majority of the day
  • Moving sluggishly
  • Reduced energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble maintaining motivation for work or school
  • Oversleeping and taking frequent naps
  • Changing in appetite or weight gain/loss
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is also sometimes known as manic depression. This type of condition is well-known for its severe mood swings between highs and lows. These mood swings are much more severe than a general adolescent kind of mood swing. They affect thinking, behavior, energy, and sleep.

If you have bipolar disorder, you will swing between periods of feeling extremely happy, unstoppable, and extremely energized, and periods of feeling extremely sluggish, tired, sad, and hopeless. 

The period of heightened happiness and excitement is known as being “manic.” In a manic state, some people feel overly confident and may engage in risky, dangerous behaviors. Decision-making may be more reckless during this time. Some individuals may also experience delusions and hallucinations while manic.

On the other end of the mood swings is a depressive state. Depressive is used to describe the opposite of being manic, characterized by typical feelings of depression. A person with bipolar can spend more time being either manic or depressive.

Common symptoms of bipolar disorder include

For mania

  • Excessive happiness, excitement
  • Sudden mood swings from happiness to irritability
  • Feeling restless
  • Talking very fast
  • Abundance of energy
  • Poor judgment
  • Big sense of self-confidence
  • Becoming impulsive

For depressive periods

  • Sadness
  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of interest in passions and interests
  • Talking slowly
  • Uncontrolled crying
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

Don’t Wait on Depression to Affect Your Healh, Get Treatment Today

At SUN Behavioral, we know that depression can affect anybody and is a serious condition. Living with depression can feel overwhelming and suffocating, like living as a shell of your former life. 

Treatment for depression is available and is effective. The road to recovery might not be a straight or easy one, but there is a path forward. It is our mission to save and enhance the lives of people in our local communities. 

Through personalized treatment and a compassionate approach to treatment for mood disorders like depression, we help support you every step of the way and set you up for a healthier, happier future. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, don’t wait, and reach out now for proper care! Call (614) 706-2786 to speak with one of our enthusiastic and welcoming staff members!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of depression?

When you’re depressed you often feel a sense of emptiness and view your life or circumstances as hopeless. You might constantly feel sad, as well. Some other common symptoms include being pessimistic, feeling worthless, experiencing greater fatigue, losing interest in activities you used to really enjoy, having trouble concentrating, and even attempting to harm yourself or commit suicide.

Depression is challenging to tackle on your own, but there’s no need to go it alone. Professional treatment can make a world of a difference when it comes to depression.

What are the signs of depression in men?

Men can also experience depression, and many of the symptoms are similar to the general hopelessness, loss of interest in hobbies, or suicidal thoughts or actions. However, there are a few symptoms of depression that occur more often in men than women.

Men are more likely to appear aggressive or angry and may turn to drug or alcohol use as a way to manage emotional distress, rather than attempt suicide. However, this should not be taken to mean that attempting suicide is only something that happens to women.