Depression is a mental health disorder that can be difficult to spot in yourself or someone you love. Many times, people with depression don’t recognize the signs or are too embarrassed to speak about it. It’s crucial for those affected by depression to understand the signs and get treatment as soon as possible. At its worst, depression may lead to suicide if left untreated. Therefore, it is paramount to learn how to read the signs of depression in yourself and those you love.
Types of Depression
Unfortunately, depression is a relatively common mental disorder, with an estimated 5% of adults suffering from the condition globally. Depression may present itself differently depending on the individual, ranging from mild unhappiness to an extreme sense of despair. There are several types of depression, and each type has specific symptoms that may impact a person’s life. The following are some of the most common types of depression:
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as major depression or clinical depression, is characterized by an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can interfere with daily life and last for prolonged periods. This disorder may impact an individual’s emotional, cognitive, and physical functioning. MDD typically lasts for at least two weeks and is usually accompanied by symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleeping habits, and loss of interest in activities they previously found enjoyable.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a more long-term form of depression that can last for an extended period. This type of depression is characterized by a low mood that can last for at least two years and may be accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating. Symptoms of PDD usually come and go and aren’t always present. Treating PDD typically entails a combination of talk therapy, medication management, and lifestyle changes.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically occurs during the fall and winter months when there is less natural light. SAD is thought to be caused by the reduction in sunlight, which can affect the body’s circadian rhythms and serotonin levels, leading to symptoms of depression.
Symptoms of SAD may vary from person to person but often include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Other symptoms include fatigue and difficulty concentrating. People with SAD may also experience irritability, social withdrawal, and decreased libido.
It is important to note that not everyone who experiences seasonal mood changes has SAD. Some people may experience a milder form of seasonal mood changes called seasonal mood variations. Treatment for SAD typically involves psychotherapy, talk therapy, medication management, and lifestyle changes such as exercise and a healthy diet.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that can occur in women after giving birth. PPD may occur anytime in the first year after childbirth. However, it typically occurs in the first three months after delivery. PPD is caused by a combination of physical, hormonal, and emotional factors. The sudden drop in hormones after childbirth, coupled with the stress and exhaustion of caring for a newborn, can trigger depression in some women. The symptoms of PPD can vary but often include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and guilt
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep disturbances
- Having difficulty bonding with your baby
- Feeling detached from loved ones
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
In addition to professional treatment, there are several lifestyle changes women with PPD can make to support their mental health. These include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and seeking support from family and friends. It is also essential for women with PPD to practice self-care and take time for themselves.
Situational depression is a type of depression triggered by a stressful life event or situation, such as a divorce, the loss of a job, a serious illness, or the death of a loved one. It is a natural response to difficult life circumstances and can affect anyone. Situational depression is different from clinical depression in that it is typically a temporary condition that resolves once the stressful situation has passed. However, if left untreated, it may become chronic and develop into a more severe form of depression.
One of the best ways to cope with situational depression is to take care of your mental and physical health. This can include getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and seeking support from friends and family. It is also vital to talk to your doctor or mental health professional if you are having difficulty managing your symptoms.
The Warning Signs of Depression
Depression is a common and serious mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. Recognizing depression in yourself or a loved one is the first step in getting treatment. While depression can be difficult to identify, there are several warning signs that may indicate a person is struggling with this condition. If you notice any of the following signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, it is essential to seek help from a qualified professional. Signs of depression include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Significant changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Chronic fatigue and low energy levels
- Social isolation and withdrawal from family and friends
- Heavy use of drugs and alcohol
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and chronic pain
Moreover, some people may seem happy and energetic on the outside but are struggling with depression internally. This is known as “masked depression” and is often difficult to recognize. Ways to identify depression in a friend or family member may include noticing a change in behavior, paying closer attention to their moods and emotions, or asking them directly if they’re feeling okay. Additionally, it can be helpful to talk to someone who knows them well and can provide insight into what they may be feeling.
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If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of depression, it’s important to seek professional help. Zebra Telehealth offers a convenient and accessible way to access mental healthcare from the comfort of your home or on the go. Our experienced mental health professionals can provide personalized treatment and support to help you manage signs of depression. Don’t wait to seek help. Book a telehealth appointment with Zebra Telehealth today and take the first step toward improving your mental health.