Many people fail to get help for depression because they are under the misconception that a person has to experience sadness to be depressed. The truth is someone who is actually depressed may have symptoms which have nothing to do with being sad or hopeless.
You see, depression is a very complex condition which shows up in different ways to different people.
Someone who is always angry and acting out aggressively can easily be depressed. Another person whose emotions are balanced but has serious trouble sleeping and eating can also need help for depression.
Then there are the physical symptoms which indicate a major depressive disorder. Aches, pains and intense fatigue can also be an indication that a person is depressed. Stomach aches, digestive problems, headaches and muscle pains can all be symptoms of depression.
But, interestingly, when it comes to fatigue, it isn't always a clearcut symptom. Experts can usually pinpoint the presence of this disorder by asking the patient when their lack of energy occurs.
Non-depressed patients who suffer from fatigue have no trouble launching into some sort of physical activity. However, they usually "poop out" during physical exertion, keeping them from completing whatever they were doing.
But, if the patient is so fatigued that they're unable to even start any kind of activity, or if they don't get tired until after successfully completing physical activity, the likelihood is that they are, indeed, depressed.
When people visit their doctor to address these issues, often the doctor will delve deeper to see if the patient might also have the more- commonly identified symptoms of depression. This usually begins with questions about the patient's current experience with concentration, recall, motivation and interest in usual activities.
If the patient reports problems in these areas the doctor is apt to move on to questions about emotional issues. NOW, this is where the doctor is likely to uncover the presence of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, bouts of crying and, possibly, sexual dysfunction.
Just like pulling a loose thread on a sweater, the doctor will use the presenting symptoms (i.e., irritability, aches, pains, fatigue) as a starting point to ultimately diagnose a case of depression.
It's easy to justify being tired if you put in lots of hours at work, or are dealing with a household full of kids and hectic activity. But persistent fatigue can signal something more serious. Or, if you're always looking for a fight or blow up at the slightest provocation, you could definitely be depressed. This is why it is so important that these physical symptoms are not overlooked or dismissed, especially if they have been present for two weeks or more without let-up.
Once diagnosed, getting help for depression is a simple matter of determining the best course of treatment for the individual. Often a combination of medication and counselling can be all that is needed to regain the enjoyment and productivity of a well-lived life.
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