Thoughtful Thursday – Depression

Ribbon-1Last week we started talking about Mental Illness and it’s effects not only on the individual, but on the family. This week we are going to focus on the signs of depression. These are important to know for many reason. Some of them are very subtle and the person with these signs might not even realize they are depressed. In addition, you may just save someones life by knowing these signs, maybe  even your own.
1. SADNESS: When feeling sad is a symptom of depression, it may include feeling hopeless and empty. You may find that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t control  your negative thoughts. You may find yourself crying for no obvious reason.
2. GUILT: People with severe depression may feel that they are worthless and helpless. They may even experience their depression as a sign of weakness, and be overly self-critical.
3.IRRITABILITY: This depression symptom may cause you to feel angry, anxious or restless. Men who are seriously depressed often express their depression through aggression
or reckless behavior.
4. MENTAL SYMPTOMS: If you have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details, these could be symptoms of depression. People with depression may feel their thought processes have slowed down.
5. PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: People with depression often have aches and pains, headaches, or digestive problems that do not seem to have any medical cause and do not respond to treatment.
6. LOSS OF ENERGY: If you have depression, you may feel tired all the time. People with depression may feel their physical abilities have slowed down.
7. LOSS OF INTEREST: A common depression symptom is loss of interest in pleasurable activities like sex, hobbies, or social interactions. This may also show up as neglecting your responsibilities and your physical grooming..
8. SLEEP CHANGES: Waking up too early in the morning, not being able to fall asleep, or sleeping too much can all be symptoms of depression.
9. APPETITE CHANGES: Changes in eating habits due to depression can result in eating too much or too little. A weight gain or loss of more than 5% of your body weight in one month is one of the warning signs of depression. Some people experience a loss of interest in food, while for others food becomes a way of compensating for feelings of depression.
10. SUICIDAL THOUGHTS: Having thoughts about harming yourself is a serious symptom of depression and always needs to be taken seriously. If you (or someone you know) are thinking about suicide, you need to get help immediately.
If you have some of these classic symptoms of depression and the symptoms are severe or have lasted longer than a few weeks, you should seek help. The best place to start is with your doctor. Depression is not a sign of weakness or a reason for shame–it is a serious illness. The positive news is that even in serious cases of clinical depression  treatment is usually very successful, and the earlier the treatment is started , the more successful it is, so don’t wait.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is: 1-800-273-8255.

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