Depression is a disorder that can have fatal consequences if not properly diagnosed and treated. Fortunately there are many things that can be done to prevent the worse of consequences of this disorder.
As with almost every disorder, the key to getting the help you need is to know what the symptoms of depression are, so that you can recognize them before it's too late.
Common Depression Symptoms
Before you rush to the doctor for some anti-depressants, you will want to ask yourself if you or someone close to you can say yes to experiencing any of the following:
Persistent sadness/melancholy: feeling sad most of the time and it never goes away.
Lack of Interest in things that is generally enjoyed: sudden lack of interest in activities that one usually finds enjoyable such as hobbies and/or outings.
Loss of appetite: sudden disinterest in eating or overindulging in food is a clear sign of a problem.
Fatigue/trouble sleeping: A constant feeling of being tired or sleeping all of time. A general lack of interest in even getting out of bed. Even if you find that you can't sleep at all, all are warning signs.
Anxiety/panic attacks: feeling worried all of time about trivial matters. Finding that petty things are causing you to worry all of the time.
Self destructive behavior: Drinking and using drugs. Cutting or self harming behavior. Impulsive behavior or acting without thinking of the consequences; or simply not caring about the consequences.
Negative/pessimistic thinking: Thinking that your life is not worth living. Having suicidal thoughts.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should talk to a doctor. Failure to do so can have serious affects. Although all of the above signs could be symptoms of other things, you should look to see if you possess 3 or more. Either way, talking to your doctor is a good idea.
Too many cases of serious depression are ignored simply because people didn't know what to look for. Recognizing it in yourself and others is a great way to prevent any major harm or even death to occur in a sufferer.
If you do get diagnosed with depression there is nothing to be ashamed of. Most people will generally suffer from mild depression in their lifetimes at some point.
Depression doesn't have the stigma attached to it that it once had either. More and more people are speaking out about it. Although not all feelings of sadness signify clinical depression, it is best not to assume that you are fine or that it will go away.
If your symptoms are persistent and/or getting worse, talking to a doctor can not only ease your depression symptoms, it can save your life. The sooner you recognize the symptoms, the faster you will get your life back to where it should be.