Everyone feels sad every now and then. However, the term ‘depression’ or ‘depressed’ is often overused; depression is not a condition to take lightly.
Depression is much more than sadness or feeling blue about an issue. It is a serious condition that carries with it a high risk of suicide. If someone you love has been saying that they are depressed, or if you have noticed a change in their demeanor, see if any of these symptoms apply:
- A change in their eating habits – Have they recently lost or gained a significant amount of weight?
- Preoccupation with death or dying – Does your loved one talk about death or dying? Are they getting things in order as a precursor of “just in case?” Are they visiting people to say goodbye? These actions can be signs of suicidal thinking.
- Trouble making decisions – Is your loved one having noticeable problems making even the tiniest of decisions? Does their thinking seem clouded?
- Loss of interest in daily activities – People who are struggling with depression often isolate themselves. They lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy.
- Sleep changes – Is your loved one sleeping an excessive amount? Are they having trouble getting out of bed and functioning throughout the day? The opposite, insomnia or restless sleep, can also be a sign of depression.
- Negativity – Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that do not go away within a few days are a symptom of depression.
- Sadness – Everyone experiences this emotion at some time or another in their life. Most people feel the feeling, get over it, and move forward. When feelings of sadness last for a few weeks, depression may be the issue.
- Reckless behavior – Is your loved one using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism? Have they started gambling or behaving in other reckless ways? Addictive behaviors and depression go hand-in-hand as the depressed person tries to make himself/herself feel better.
Depression in Women
Rates of depression in women are significantly higher than depression in men due to hormonal factors. Women are more likely to feel guilty, gain weight, and sleep excessively when depressed.
Depression in Men
In our culture, men often view depression as a sign of weakness, so it is less likely that they will seek out help for their feelings. Some common symptoms of depression in men include anger, violence, and substance abuse. Although rates of depression are higher for women, the rates of suicide due to depression runs higher in men.
If you think that someone you love and care about is suffering from depression, seek out the help of a professional. There are many effective treatments for depression. Your loved one does not need to suffer in silence.