It is estimated that something like 10% of the total population will suffer clinical depression at some point in their lives, yet many people won’t want to admit that they are depressed, so they hide it. Depression is far more than just feeling sad, it can be completely debilitating, but it can be treated with medication and with therapy. You don’t have to live with depression, and GP’s are there to help you with depression in the same way they would help you with any other illness, so don’t pretend that you are just feeling low and ignore it. There is no medical test that can diagnose depression, but there are common symptoms, so here are ten of the common symptoms that might indicate that you do have depression.
1. Disrupted sleep patterns
Many people with depression first consult their GP because they are having trouble sleeping. This disruption to your sleep pattern could include the inability to get to sleep at night, waking up in the middle of the night and feeling tired and lethargic during the day.
2. Changes to eating habits
A noticeable change in your eating habits could also have been caused by depression. Depressed people don’t all lose their appetite, though some do, some people experience dramatic weight gain and just can’t stop eating.
3. Increased alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol is often a way that people try to numb their emotions and deal with depression, so if you have gone from one drink a day, to needing a few drinks to get yourself to sleep, that could be a sign of depression. Alcohol only masks the feelings temporarily and it will ultimately cause other medical problems and worsen the depression.
4. Taking time off work
Waking up in the morning and feeling that you don’t have the energy to work is another common sign of depression. It’s more than the Monday morning feeling that most of get, it will probably lead to you making excuses not go to work. Also, if you do go to work and you seem to get nothing done, that too can be a sign of depression.
5. Increased irritability and anger
Another way that people try to numb the emotional pain of depression is that they take their frustration and anger out on other people. They will quickly snap at other people and start arguments and, in some case, even resort to violence as a way to distract their minds.
6. A change in socialising habits
One of the problems in recognising that you are depressed is that different people react differently to depression. Some people will withdraw from all contact with friends and family and try to hide themselves away, but others will go out of their way to be other people as a way of distracting their mind from their problems.
7. Over-sensitivity to emotions
You might also experience what psychiatrists call “inappropriate affect”. This means that a sad movie could have you in floods of tears, but news of the passing away of a close friend hardly affects you at all. You could be blocking out the really important things, but letting your real emotional state of mind show over the tiniest little things.
8. Lack of concentration
If you find yourself sitting at your computer and, and hour later, you haven’t done a single thing, then that could be a sign of depression. Depression can cause a lack of concentration and a lack of energy, or willingness, to do anything.
9. Aches and pains in the body
Depression can also manifest itself in physical symptoms. You might get feelings of nausea, aches and pains in the joints and your immune system could be impacted by depression too, so you will suffer with more colds and other minor ailments.
10. Feelings of hopelessness
People who are clinically depressed often feel a complete lack of hope and they have no interest in the world around them, or in the future. They have the feeling that nothing will ever improve and they take a pessimistic view of everything.
It might seem strange to think that anyone would need to be told the symptoms of depression, but because of the stigma that is attached to any mental illness, most of us would prefer not to admit that they might be depressed, even to themselves. Depression is just an illness, though, and it can be treated. If you do think that you are depressed, then make an appointment with your GP, because you really don’t have to live with depression.
You may also be interested in: