Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders observed, being able to recognize the signs of depression can help you better understand if you or a loved one is struggling with a problem.
According to data from NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), over 17.3 million people in the US experienced at least one major depressive episode over the course of 2017.
These reported depressive episodes occur most prevalently among the 18-25 demographic. Females are more prone to experiencing major depressive episodes than males, per the same NIMH statistics.
Shifts in mood are completely normal, especially in response to stressful circumstances or events. If feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and sadness linger, though, or if they start impacting your daily living, you could be suffering from clinical depression.
There are many forms of depression, including:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Seasonal depression
- Atypical depression
Although depression affects more females than males and more young adults than seniors, depression could strike anyone at any time.
So, if you’re suffering from major depressive disorder, you’re certainly not alone. You’ll be one of around 7% of the US population experiencing at least one episode of clinical depression in any particular year.
What’s the difference between feeling down and being clinically depressed, then?
Early Warning Signs of Depression
The following are the most common general signs and symptoms of depression:
- Generally depressed mood
- Reduced energy levels
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Disrupted sleeping patterns
- Restlessness or agitation
- Slowed speech or movements
- Unintentional weight loss or weight gain
- Problems with focus or decision-making
- Reduced interest in normal activities
- Deep fatigue or listlessness
- Unexplained outbursts of anger
- Loss of libido
- Changes to appetite
- Problems at work
- Job loss
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicide attempts
Now, of all the most commonly reported signs and symptoms of depression, the following ten are some red flags indicating that you or a loved one may be suffering from a depressive disorder of some kind.
1. Losing interest in your normal hobbies and activities: When you start losing your love for life and you feel less pleasure in things that previously stimulated you, you may be exhibiting one of the most common early warning signs of depression.
2. Anger and irritability: If your tolerance levels are dipping, your temper is on a trigger, and you start feeling agitated and restless, possibly even violent, you may have depression.
3. Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness: Is your outlook persistently bleak? Do you feel like nothing will get better and there is no hope of improving your circumstances? If so, you could be battling with a debilitating symptom of major depressive disorder.
4. Loss of energy: Depression can make you feel sluggish and fatigued, with your whole body feeling weighed down. You may find that even the smallest of tasks seem insurmountable and take an eternity to complete.
5. Disrupted sleep patterns: From oversleeping and waking in the early hours of the morning to insomnia, depression often triggers disruptions to your sleeping patterns.
6. Appetite and weight changes: If your weight fluctuates by more than 5% over a month, you could be showing one of the outward physical signs of depression.
7. Reckless behaviors: From substance abuse and compulsive gambling to dangerous sports or reckless driving, if you regularly behave recklessly, this could manifest undiagnosed depression.
8. Issues with focus: Struggling to remember things, experiencing problems with concentration, and struggling to make sound decisions are all common markers for depression.
9. Self-loathing: When feelings of guilt or worthlessness lead you to start criticizing yourself too heavily and too often for perceived wrongdoings and faults, it may be worth speaking with your healthcare provider about screening for depression.
10. Unexplained aches or pains: There are some physical signs of depression. Look out for unexplained back pain, muscle aches, or stomach pain.
Signs of Depression in Men
- Behavior: Reduced interest in normal activities, reduced pleasure in favored activities, substance abuse, taking part in risky activities, feeling easily tired, suicidal thoughts
- Mood: Anger, irritability, aggressiveness, anxiousness, restlessness
- Cognitive abilities: Problems with focus, problems completing tasks, delayed responses
- Emotional well-being: Feeling sad, hopeless, or empty
- Sleep patterns: Extreme sleepiness, insomnia, disturbed sleep, pains or fatigue from lack of sleep, failing to sleep through the night
- Sexual interest: Reduced sex drive and impaired sexual performance
Signs of Depression in Women
- Behavior: Reduced interest in favored activities, withdrawing from social engagements, slowed thoughts, talking more slowly, suicidal thoughts
- Mood: Irritability
- Emotional well-being: Feeling sad, anxious, hopeless, or empty
- Sleep patterns: Sleeping too much or too little, waking too early, problems sleeping throughout the night
- Physical health: Reduced energy levels, fatigue, appetite changes, weight changes, cramps, pain, headaches
Depression is also a major risk factor when it comes to suicide in both men and women. Look out for the following severe warning signs:
- Regularly talking about harming or killing yourself
- Expressing feelings of being trapped
- Being preoccupied with death and dying
- Contacting loved ones to say goodbye
- Engaging in reckless behaviors
If any of the above signs and symptoms of depression persist, especially if you experience several symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. Raise your concerns and ask for an assessment for depression.
Depression Treatment at Renaissance Recovery
If you are struggling with depression at the same time as alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you should first detox and withdraw from alcohol or drugs before engaging with treatment for depression.
With your body toxin-free, you can proceed with dual diagnosis treatment if you have a co-occurring addiction and mental health condition.
Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants of one of the following types:
- SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)
- SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Atypical antidepressants
- MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
While these medications all perform the same core role of recalibrating brain chemistry, they do so using different mechanisms.
You might need to try several different types of antidepressants before finding one that alleviates your symptoms. Antidepressants typically take a couple of weeks to start working.
Psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) help you address the flawed thinking patterns that can inflame depression symptoms.
Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, we’ll help you beat the depression that’s holding you down, and we’ll also help you resolve any co-occurring substance use issues. All you need to do is contact the friendly admissions team at 866.330.9449