When the Skies Turn Dark: 12 Signs a Loved One Is Suffering From Depression
Depression comes in many forms. Some people experience mild depression and bounce back quickly. Others, in contrast, sink into deep despair and feel like they are never going to recover. Any sign of depression needs to be addressed immediately so help may be obtained. What signs should one be looking for when it comes to this common condition?
Alterations in Sleep Habits
Mood and sleep go hand in hand, and when a person fails to get enough sleep, he or she becomes more prone to depression. In turn, depression interferes with a person’s ability to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports individuals who suffer from insomnia are significantly more likely to become depressed than those men and women who get ample sleep. However, people who can’t get out of bed and sleep the day away may also be suffering from depression. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from depression, it is time to find treatment options.
Loss of Interest
When a person loses interest in their hobbies or activities, the National Institute of Mental Health reports depression may be at play. This is often one of the first signs the individual is having problems. Therefore, it should be investigated immediately to learn exactly what is going on.
Exhaustion or Fatigue
Depression often brings about a feeling of excessive tiredness. In fact, it is believed 90 percent of individuals suffering from depression experience fatigue. While a person being tired shouldn’t cause concern, if other symptoms of depression are present, it’s time to get checked to learn what is going on.
Low Sex Drive
When a person is depressed, their sex drive often suffers. In fact, this problem is so common in those who are suffering from major depression, some health professionals consider it a key indicator when diagnosing this condition. The lack of sex drive might be the result of lower energy levels, a lack of self-esteem, fatigue, or simply a loss of interest in sex and other pleasurable activities.
Depressive realism is a trait in which a person accurately views events and their control over these events. This trait is believed to be seen more often in people suffering from depression, and those who are depressed tend to be more pessimistic. They simply have a negative view of the future and what it holds.
A Change in Weight
A person suffering from depression often changes their eating habits without even knowing they are doing so. They use food to comfort themselves or simply lack the appetite to eat. Weight changes often make the depression worse by negatively impacting the individual’s self-esteem. Additionally, physiological factors might contribute to depression. For example, a person carrying excess fat in the body experiences increased inflammation and this could bring on or worsen depression. Any changes in a person’s appetite that last for a period of time need to be investigated.
Many individuals suffering from depression turn to alcohol or drugs to obtain relief. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports approximately one in five individuals suffering from a mood or anxiety disorder have a substance abuse problem, and certain experts believe this number may be much higher. In fact, treatment programs now exist for men and women who have both a mental health disorder and substance abuse issues.
If a person seems like they are forcing their smile or that they are always putting on a happy face when another body language suggests they aren’t happy, it might be this individual is struggling with depression. It’s hard to hide how one truly feels, especially over an extended period of time. For this reason, loved ones need to be looking for signs of loneliness, hopelessness, or sadness when the person’s mask does slip.
Inability to Concentrate
A depressed individual often finds it difficult to concentrate. He or she might lose his train of thought during a conversation or simply trail off. These are signs something is going on with the individual’s memory and concentration, and doctors will look to see if the symptoms of depression are present. A study conducted in 2014 found that when depressed individuals struggle with concentration and memory, the effects actually make the social impact of depression worse. This is due to the challenges seen in the person’s relationships resulting from this inability to concentrate.
Irritation and Anger
Most people don’t link irritability or anger with depression, but mood changes are commonly been in people with this condition. Mental health professionals often say depression is anger that has been turned inward, but this isn’t always the case. The anger and irritation may come out and be directed at other people, as the depression makes it hard for the individual to regulate emotions and this may appear as anger or irritation.
Men and women need time alone, but when a person cuts themselves off from loved ones, there might be cause for concern. Depression often leaves a person wanting to dwell in their sadness and they don’t want others to see how unhappy or sad they are. They isolate themselves to prevent this from happening. Additionally, the person might be contemplating self-harm and is preparing others for a life in which they are no longer present. Isolation is a sign this person needs help, so don’t delay in seeking treatment if this sign is seen.
While depression is a mental health issue, those suffering from this condition frequently suffer from physical aches and pains as well. Digestive issues have been linked to depression as have headaches, and individuals suffering from depression are more at risk of chronic health conditions as well. This includes cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions. Doctors need to recognize the link between mental health problems and physical complaints to provide patients with the highest level of care.
Never dismiss signs of depression, as treatment is available. A person suffering from this condition is more at risk of complications, such as physical health issues or even death. The sooner treatment is sought, the sooner he is able to obtain a better quality of life. Seek help today. Your loved one deserves nothing less.