Depression is a serious issue that affects many people at different points of their lives. Some struggle with it every day, while others may find themselves depressed during certain periods of their lives instead. There are theories about what’s behind depression, but it can be difficult to predict when or if you will be depressed. For that reason, it’s a good idea to learn about the signs of depression, so you can recognize it if you start to become depressed.
Feeling Sad Versus Being Depressed
Sadness can happen to anyone. Often, we say things like “I’m so depressed today”, even if we aren’t actually suffering from clinical depression. But, how can you tell when you’re dealing with actual depression versus sadness? Both can be brought on by traumatic events or little things, and both can cause similar symptoms.
One of the surest ways of telling the difference is all about time. If you are experiencing sadness and the symptoms of depression for two weeks or more, you may be dealing with clinical depression rather than just temporary depression or sadness.
What Are the Signs of Depression?
These signs don’t ALWAYS point to depression, but if you are experiencing some or all of these things for more than 2 weeks, you may want to look into the possibilities:
- Weight and Appetite Changes
When you are depressed, your appetite and weight may experience a lot of variations. Things you used to enjoy eating might not seem very appealing, or you may not feel much like eating at all. Also, you may see a rapid gain or loss in weight without any significant change in habits.
- Losing Interest in Normal Daily Actions or Hobbies
If you used to enjoy doing a certain hobby, but don’t anymore, or if you have stopped doing things you would usually do every day, this can be a sign that you’re depressed. It doesn’t encompass you making life changes that intentionally disrupt your hobbies or daily activities, but when you stop doing these things with no real reason.
- Frequent Helpless and Hopeless Feelings
One that that is consistent with many people that suffer from depression is the feeling of being hopeless in life or helpless to change your situation. This feeling is usually applied to your life in general, or negative circumstances that have a large impact on your life, and not about smaller, less significant circumstances.
- Inability to Sleep or Sleeping Too Much
Clinical depression causes you to lose energy, which makes you want to sleep more frequently and for longer periods of time. In contrast, some people with depression also feel tired during the day, but cannot sleep at night or have a lot of trouble falling asleep. Either of these problems can point towards depression if they go on for 2 weeks or more.
- Sudden Mood Swings
Mood swings can be blamed on a lot of different medical conditions or mental health states, but they can sometimes be a sign of depression as well. This is especially true if you’re more prone to anger or sadness, rather than happier moods.
- Lack of Energy Daily
When depression is ongoing, it’s common for you to lose your energy. You may not feel able to do most basic activities, even getting out of bed in the morning. It can be difficult to get your energy back, and you may still feel drained even after waking up from a long sleep.
- Being Too Hard on Yourself
Depression can alter your state of mind and make you see your failures and flaws an amplified way that makes you treat them more seriously. If you’re depressed, it’s easier for you to criticize and beat down on yourself for mistakes of any kind.
- Trouble Concentrating
Your mind will not be able to focus and concentrate on the same things for long when you are depressed. Most people with depression find simple concentration to be very hard to maintain for more than a few minutes. This doesn’t just apply to things that you are forced to concentrate on, such as work or school, but also happens with things you’re interested in like movies or books. In many cases, your mind will start wandering without you realizing it, and you will have to try to refocus again before you can continue concentrating.
- Substance Abuse
While this isn’t a symptom that everyone experiences, it’s common for people with depression to turn towards a physical substance to help with the hopelessness and sadness. Rehab centers like The Recovery Village frequently deal with patients that have turned to addictive substances because of depression. If the underlying depression isn’t dealt with first, it can be difficult to remove the addiction.
Depression isn’t something that shows up in everyone’s life, but it can happen to anyone. Know the signs of depression so that you can detect and treat it early if it shows up.