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July 17, 2018

How to tell if you’re suffering from depression

Mental Health Depression

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Depressed women sitting in bed Kinga Cichewicz/

Feeling sad, upset, or frustrated is a normal part of everyday life. However, emotions like hopelessness and desperation could signify a larger issue such as depression.

When depression takes hold, it can be difficult to keep up with your daily routine, and it can affect your ability to function or appreciate aspects of life you once found enjoyable. No matter how overwhelming these feelings may become, with the right treatment which may include medication and counseling, you can move beyond depression and lead a fulfilling, healthy life.

What is depression?

Understanding the cause of depression is the first step towards healing. Clinical depression is a mood disorder that affects everything from the way you think and feel, to the way you behave. It often results in a constant sense of hopelessness and despair that affects your life by inhibiting your ability to eat, sleep, work, study, and enjoy time with friends and family. More ambiguous symptoms, like restlessness, impaired concentration, and indecisiveness are also potential warning signs. Losing interest in normal activities and relationships is a hallmark of major depression, and if any of these feelings persist for two weeks or more, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a trained medical professional.

How depression can affect you

Given that we all have varying temperaments and tendencies, depression affects different people in different ways. Age and gender also play a role in how symptoms take shape.

For example, depressed men tend to exhibit volatile emotions like anger and aggression. Men are also more likely to succumb to reckless behaviors like substance abuse than their female counterparts. Women, on the other hand, often experience feelings like guilt, and are inclined to cope with these feelings by overeating or sleeping excessively. Postpartum depression, a condition that 1 in 7 women suffer from, is a specific form of depression experienced by women who have recently given birth.

Teens and older adults are also subject to depressive thoughts and feelings, which manifest in different ways. Irritability, anger, and agitation are the most common signs in teens, whereas older adults or the elderly often face physical symptoms rather than emotional ones. Fatigue, memory loss, and unexplained aches and pains plague older adults suffering from depression. This demographic may also begin neglecting their physical appearance, or they might stop taking prescribed medication.

Fighting the stigma

Despite a recent sea change in how depression is viewed and treated, it remains a stigmatized disorder misunderstood by many. People going through depression are often misperceived as being lazy or unmotivated. They are sometimes told to get over their pervasive feelings of sadness and despair, which only worsens their condition and makes the sufferer feel guilty on top of everything else.

Depression is a real issue, and it should be treated as such. Recognizing early warning signs, including ones that may be difficult to pick up on — such as a loss of appetite or lack of sleep — is the first step toward combatting depression. If you or a loved one experience prolonged feelings of sadness, loneliness, or hopelessness, it is important to address these symptoms with a trained professional.

Getting help can be easier said than done, and everyone reacts to this mood disorder differently. Stay in tune with your emotions and those of your loved ones and remember to be supportive to anyone you think may be dealing with depression.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.

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