Around 350 million people across the globe suffer from depression: that’s 5% of the world’s population. Even though it affects so many of us, depression is something we rarely talk about openly. If left untreated, depression can quickly lead to serious, life-threatening complications. So if you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, here are six depression symptoms you need to look out for.
6 Depression Symptoms
Prolonged feelings of sadness
Everyone experiences bouts of sadness and grief throughout their lives. These are healthy, human emotions that usually fade within a matter of days. But when these feelings persist for weeks or longer, they can be signs of depression.
No pleasure in pastimes
One of the biggest depression symptoms is not finding pleasure in the things we used to enjoy. Depression comes with an overwhelming sense of emptiness and hobbies that we once loved can seem redundant.
Change in sleep pattern
Depression isn’t just emotionally tiring; it’s physically exhausting, too. If you’ve noticed you’re sleeping a lot more than normal or the opposite – you have difficulty falling or staying asleep – these are both signs of depression.
Change in appetite
Similar to the point above, a significant increase or decrease in appetite is another sign of depression. Sometimes a sudden loss of interest in food is symptom. Alternatively, some of us seek comfort in food and overeat when feeling down.
People who show signs of depression sometimes have trouble concentrating. Simple tasks, such as reading a newspaper, remembering details from a conversation or making everyday decisions might seem impossible.
Loss of energy
Feeling constantly tired, no matter how much sleep you get, is a common sign of depression. You may think more slowly that you used to and your usual daily routine might seem too energetic to handle.
What to do if you’re depressed
If you’re experiencing a lot of these symptoms, you’re showing signs of depression and need to seek help. The first step on the road to recovery is talking with a doctor. A doctor has the proper medical training to diagnose you and help put together a personalised treatment programme.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to a doctor or it’s not an option, it’s important you reach out to family or friends. Find someone you trust 100% and confide in them. Talking about your problems out loud to a friendly face might just give you the courage to book an appointment with your doctor.
What to do if someone you know is depressed
If someone you know is experiencing several of the symptoms above, they could be depressed. The first thing you need to do is spend some time researching depression online and finding out how it makes people feel. There are some excellent articles on depression on the Greatist. When you think you understand enough, approach the person you’re worried about and discuss it with them thoughtfully, gently and proactively.
It’s important the person you’re speaking to understands you’re supporting them and doesn’t feel like you’re being condescending. Try your best to persuade them to visit a doctor if they are battling depression. But if you can’t, at least be a good listener.
Do you know any other depression symptoms to watch out for? Share them in a comment below and help others in the process.