How can you tell if you're depressed? It sounds like a stupid question, but a surprising number of us may not recognize the signs of depression, although one in ten people will experience a severe depressive episode in their life. Many of us are afraid to speak of depression. This stigma exacerbates depression and is actually dangerous because it hinders many people to seek help.
Unlike a simple physical problem like a viral infection or a fractured bone, there is no simple test for depression and the diagnosis is based on a series of symptoms. Here are eight signs that may indicate you are depressed.
1. Weight gain or loss
Depression can cause a total lack of interest in food, so someone can start to lose weight without even realizing it. However, the reverse can also happen: to fill the emotional void, some depressed people turn to food for comfort and thus they gain weight.
2. Sleep Problems
The same as with appetite, physical changes can swing between two extremes. You may find yourself suddenly tired and sleepy all day, or you can find it impossible to fall asleep. A particularly common form of sleep deprivation is when you wake up in the middle of the night, every night.
3. Aches and pains
Many people do not realize that depression comes with physical symptoms. Discomfort in the stomach, a weakened immune system (manifested through constant colds and flu), aches and pains throughout the body and exacerbated chronic health problems can occur in a depressive episode.
4. Anger and irritability
If you're constantly depressed, you can become extremely frustrated, which can sometimes manifest as anger. If you feel like you are angry on a daily basis, you may be depressed.
About 40% of people with depression struggle with an alcohol problem. The use of illegal drugs and prescribed ones is also a way for some people to escape their feelings. The consumption of alcohol and drugs can also cause liver damage and lead to poor health, which can worsen the depressive episodes.
6. Concentration problems
Being unable to concentrate, taking three hours to do something that usually takes one and finding it difficult to formulate your thoughts in a coherent manner are also factors that accompany depression. If you constantly feel like you do not have the mental energy to perform simple tasks, it may be time to ask for help.
7. Work-related problems
Depression can seriously impair your ability to work. A high absenteeism rate due to an inability to wake up or get out of bed in the morning is a good example. Even missing a day or two a week, or arriving late and leaving early are common signs. Being present, but doing nothing is also a sign.
8. Lack of libido
A complete lack of interest in sex can be a characteristic of depression. If you are in a relationship, a total lack of commitment from your lover can make you feel even guiltier, added to a self-loathing and insecurity that can get you can even deeper into depression
What is crucial for fighting depression successfully is to be aware of the signs and seek help and treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a spiral, where you do not want to talk to anyone, which will only make things worse.