Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mental Health 101: Signs Of Depression To Recognize

Everyone experiences a wide range of emotions on a daily basis and we all can feel sad or 'blue' from time to time. However, if the feelings of despair and emptiness have taken over your life and won't go away on their own, you might have depression. Depression can manifest itself a number of ways and it tends to make every day functions more difficult and less enjoyable. With that said, no matter how sad or hopeless you may feel, you can conquer depression to feel better. Let's go over the signs, symptoms, causes and treatment options so you can have a better understanding of it.

What Is Depression?
According to Stuart MacFarlane, an experienced psychotherapist, depression is an illness that impacts the brain, which can negatively affect the way an individual feels, thinks and behaves. It typically causes severe feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Depression can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems that can lower the person's ability to function at work, at home and in social environments.

What Are The Signs & Symptom?
Depression can vary from person to person but there are a few common and recognizable signs. Some signs and symptoms include:
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sadness.
  • No longer interested in activities that were once enjoyable – hobbies, social activities, games, etc.
  • Trouble concentrating, focusing or making decisions
  • Body aches
  • Change in sleep habits – experiencing insomnia or oversleeping
  • Change in eating habits – significant weight gain or weight loss
  • Feeling fatigued, sluggish or having no energy
  • Erratic escapist behaviors like alcohol/drug abuse, gambling, shopping sprees, diving dangerously, etc.
  • Feeling angry, irritable, short-tempered

What Are Treatment Options?
When someone is depressed, it's important that they seek professional help because it's a mental illness that's extremely hard to treat alone. A doctor or psychologist may use a combination of treatments that may include:
  • Anti-depressant medication
  • Psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Exercise routine
  • And other treatment options 

The majority of depressed individuals who seek treatment often see vast improvements, which is why it's extremely important to get help.