10 Depression Signs and Symptoms You MUST Know – Revealed
We will reveal Top 10 Signs, Symptoms, and Facts You Should Know about Depression in this blog post!
Depression is a serious medical condition affecting over 264 million people worldwide. As one of the most common mental illnesses, it’s estimated that around 7% of American adults experience depression each year. However, depression still faces stigma and is often misunderstood.
In this updated blog post, we will explore the top signs and symptoms of depression, provide engaging real-world examples, share important facts about depression, and hopefully help you or a loved one recognize if treatment may be needed. Our goal is to make this topic as accessible and helpful as possible for readers in the United States.
10 Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression
1. Persistent Sad, Empty, or Hopeless Mood
Many people experience occasional low mood, but clinical depression involves feeling sad, empty, or hopeless most of the day for at least two weeks. This persistent low mood can greatly impact enjoyment of activities you once found pleasurable or meaningful.
A famous example is the legendary actress and model Barbie, who publicly discussed struggling with persistent bouts of depression despite her glamorous career and lifestyle. This shows how depression can affect anyone regardless of circumstances.
2. Loss of Interest in Activities
When depressed, formerly enjoyable activities may no longer appeal to you. You may lose interest in hobbies, socializing, sex, or other interests. Work and responsibilities can feel meaningless. This loss of pleasure is known as anhedonia and is a hallmark sign of depression.
3. Changes in Appetite and Weight
Most people with depression exhibit weight fluctuations, often gaining or losing weight without trying due to changes in appetite. Some feel constantly hungry and eat more, while others lose their appetite. Unexplained changes in appetite or weight by 5% within a month could signal depression.
4. Insomnia or Hypersomnia
Sleep issues are very common in depression. Insomnia involves trouble falling or staying asleep, while hypersomnia means excessive sleeping or difficulty getting out of bed. Disturbed sleep contributes to low energy and makes depression harder to manage.
A sobering example is the tragic case of American actress and model Brittany Murphy, who succumbed to pneumonia brought on by severe sleep disturbances from untreated depression and anxiety. Maintaining healthy sleep habits is crucial for mental wellbeing.
5. Psychomotor Agitation or Retardation
Individuals experiencing psychomotor agitation may feel unusually restless, with paced speech and an inability to sit still. On the other hand, psychomotor retardation causes sluggishness, slowed speech, and fatigue. Noticeable changes in basic motor functions could point to depression.
6. Fatigue and Low Energy
Feeling constantly drained or lacking energy is common with depression. Even minor tasks like getting dressed or having a conversation can feel exhausting. This fatigue persists despite adequate sleep and significantly impacts quality of life.
7. Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt
When depressed, self-esteem is often very low. Sufferers may feel they have little to offer or that they are a burden on others. It’s also common to dwell on past mistakes, feel personally responsible for negative life events, or believe you deserve to feel unwell. Such distorted thinking requires challenging.
8. Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions
Cognitive symptoms can include issues focusing, following conversations, retaining information, or making basic decisions. This “brain fog” makes work and responsibilities more challenging and frustrating to complete. Concentration problems were widely reported during the Great Depression era.
9. Recurrent Thoughts of Death or Suicide
Depression sadly heightens the risk for suicidal thinking, especially if symptoms are severe or persist untreated. It’s crucial to seek immediate help from a mental health professional for suicidal urges, plans, or previous attempts in yourself or loved ones. Call 911 if suicide appears imminent.
10. Unexplained Physical Symptoms
Less recognized are the varied physical issues depression can manifest as, such as chronic pain, digestive problems, headaches, and other medically unexplained symptoms. Long-term depression also elevates risks for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Treating the underlying depression is key.
Important Facts About Depression
– Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses but often goes undiagnosed and untreated. According to NAMI, over half of those with depression are not receiving proper care.
– Major depression is classified as having five or more of the above symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks. But depression also includes:
› Persistent Depressive Disorder (dysthymia) – Chronic depression with milder long-term symptoms
› Postpartum Depression – Onset within 4 weeks after giving birth
› Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Repeated winter depression from lack of sunlight
› Psychotic Depression – Severe with additional psychotic symptoms like hallucinations
› Inconstant Depression – Occurs in the depressed phase of inconstant disorder
– Risk factors for depression include genetics, life stressors, trauma, certain medical conditions, substance use, and seasonal/latitude changes. Winter weather greatly impacted mood during The Great Depression era in America.
– Up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression (PPD) after childbirth, often dismissed by mothers due to stigma. One tragic example was American TV star and model Cindy Anthony, who suffered postpartum psychosis that led to harming her child.
– Comorbidity with other illnesses like anxiety disorders is very common, as both conditions share genetic and environmental pathways in the brain and body. Many star athletes like Michael Phelps have openly discussed battling both depression and anxiety.
– Antidepressants, psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, lifestyle modifications, supplements, and brain stimulation therapies can effectively treat depression based on individual needs. Finding the right treatment is a process that requires patience.
– Even brief depression screening tools can help identify if further evaluation is needed. Many popular free online tools like the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 cover depression and anxiety symptoms.
How to Support Someone with Depression
If you suspect a loved one may have depression, have a caring, non-judgmental discussion about getting professional help. Offer practical assistance and continue regular check-ins during treatment. Validate their experiences, encourage maintaining self-care routines, and involve them in fun, supportive social activities. Remember there is hope – with time and proper treatment, depression is highly manageable.
The signs and symptoms of depression outlined here aim to increase awareness and understanding of this widespread yet treatable condition impacting millions worldwide, particularly in the United States. With compassion and care for each other, together we can hopefully remove stigma around mental illness and help more individuals recognize depression sooner to get on a path to wellness.