Identifying mental health issues is not like identifying a physical problem. Both efforts can be challenging, but there are typically more obstacles when dealing with a psychological disorder.
Take depression, for example. Everyone feels blue at times. Scroll through the news feed of any social media platform, and you’ll find tons of posts and expressions evoking sadness. Depression, however, is a serious, diagnosable condition. It can manifest in many ways and requires knowledge and awareness to recognize it early and address it appropriately.
The Stigma Factor
An important issue linked to recognizing depression is the lingering stigma connected to mental illness. Let’s say you sprain your ankle during a pick-up basketball game. Showing up at work on crutches is not a cause for shame. The people around you will ask what happened, show sympathy, and wish you well.
Things may not go as smoothly if you tell someone you’re depressed. At the very least, you may get a well-intentioned pep talk. On the other end of the spectrum, you may wind up being questioned, doubted, and invalidated as there are several myths about depression contributing to the mental health stigma. So it’s no wonder that many people play down or remain silent about potential depression symptoms.
It may help to educate yourself on the possible causes of depression. As you can see from the examples, it’s not a personal flaw or failing:
- Hormones: Different physical conditions can cause unseen changes in our hormones. This reality often increases the chances of depression.
- Brain Chemistry: Everyone has unique levels of brain receptors called neurotransmitters. Even the subtlest difference can make it harder for a person to regulate their moods.
- Genes: Genetics often plays a role in your susceptibility to depression. Studies have found that depression can sometimes run in families.
7 Possible Signs of Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore
Plenty of signs point to depression. Here are a few symptoms you should know.
1. Mental Signs
It could begin with foggy thinking. Perhaps you find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions. This feeling may progress in the sense of general irritability and restlessness.
2. Physical Signs
These can sometimes be the least apparent signs of depression. However, the following physical symptoms should not be overlooked:
- Sleep disturbances
- Unexplained aches, pains, and muscle tension
- General low energy
3. Signs Related to Eating Habits
Depression and the internal chemical shifts linked to it often manifest in changes to your appetite, food preferences, and interest in eating. Please don’t ignore sudden weight loss or gain.
4. Active Behavioral Signs
Contrary to popular perception, depression may cause you to act out aggressively. It may present in the form of reckless behavior such as substance abuse, runaway shopping or spending, irresponsibility at work, or risky sexual practices.
5. Passive Behavioral Signs
It may sneak up on you slowly, but you may come to realize that you’re choosing to withdraw and self-isolate. The activities you’ve always enjoyed may hold less interest for you — or no interest at all. Neglect of daily basics like grooming, running errands, and doing chores
6. Changes in Outlook
Key symptoms and depressing thoughts feel more intense, such as:
- Feeling worthless
- A sense of hopelessness
- Intense guilt and shame
7. More Threatening Signs
Your mood markedly darkens or deepens. If your mind lingers on morbid thoughts of self-harm, death, or suicide, seek immediate help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255.
Depression Therapy Columbus Ohio
Many individuals dismiss the majority of the depression signs listed above. You might even fear being accused of overreacting if you spoke of them. That is all the more reason to reach out for professional guidance.
Speaking with a mental health therapist will provide you with answers and a safe space to talk about your emotions and depression symptoms. Don’t go it alone. You must get the kind of counseling — in-person or via video chat — that you need to facilitate healing and recovery.