Useful Checklist to Identify the Warning Signs of Depression
Depression is the scourge of the modern world because it is a serious disease that can significantly worsen a person’s life. To identify it in time is a difficult task, but its early development has some unique signs. In this article, you will find out which priority phenomena you should pay attention to.
Depression is a problem that many modern people face. The reasons for this are many – emotional exhaustion, overstrain, lack of sleep, frequent stresses, etc., and often the cause of the ailment can be the strong shocks and troubles that deal a blow to the psyche.
Whatever the reason, depression needs to be treated otherwise it can spoil the life of a person and destroy all the person has. Any disease is treated easier when it is detected early, so recognizing the signs of depression in time is very important. This disease is problematic in that it has different manifestations and symptoms, so it is not easy to recognize depression. The signs of depression can vary widely for each person, but still, there are common symptoms by which it can be identified.
Severe depression can be difficult to win independently, and the reasons for this are different, but the only solution is to consult a doctor. The specialist will diagnose the disease, find its medical causes, and select the right treatment. Still, the first thing to do when you find yourself depressed is to find the desire and motivation to get rid of it and to return to normal life.
What Do We Know About Depression?
Depression is a rather serious mental disorder characterized by a loss of the opportunity to enjoy life in its various manifestations, as well as being in a constant depressed mood. This is the depression definition you can find in medical literature, although the variations of the disease may be different. Unlike simple melancholy, which lasts a shorter period of time, depression is a stable condition that can last for months and even years. Depression can be temporary as a normal reaction of a person to stress – so many people who have lost a loved one or relative fall into depression. However, sometimes the disease can come for no apparent reason.
Despite the fact that depression is quite easy to treat, it still affects a lot of people. According to statistics, every tenth person who has crossed the forty-year line suffers from this disease and among the elderly, this number is three times more. More than half of them are women. Still, not only adults suffer from depression, as this illness is also common among adolescents: it is observed in 15-40% of boys and girls. At this age, severe depression can lead to suicide.
To identify the disease is difficult because often patients prefer not to notice symptoms of their illness and do not seek medical help. People do not want to talk about their problems to a doctor, because they believe in the ability to overcome depression through willpower and the control of emotions. However, this is not always possible.
Differences of Causes in Women and Men
Despite the fact that depression is a common human problem, it can vary in men and women and has different symptoms. Men are less likely to suffer from depression than women, yet this disease occurs even in them. Often it has the appearance of stress or excessive fatigue, so it is difficult to determine depression.
Often, men’s depression is accompanied by such symptoms:
- feeling of emptiness and sadness;
- trouble concentrating;
- constant feeling of fatigue;
- decrease or total loss of interest in work, sex, sports, hobbies;
- sleep disorders, expressed by drowsiness or insomnia;
- food-related disorders (lack of appetite or overeating);
- digestive disorders;
- suicidal thoughts and attempts;
- difficulty in carrying out day-to-day affairs;
- constant irritation and anger;
Of course, all of the above can also be observed in a healthy person during difficult periods of life or during simple fatigue. However, if without visible external causes this condition lasts more than two weeks, then there is a possibility that this is not just stress, but depression.
Depression in women is more common than in the male sex, as women are more susceptible to such factors as social pressure and various stressful situations. In addition, women more often suffer from hormonal changes. Women also make more attempts to commit suicide, but unlike men, they rarely bring them to the end.
Depression in women can be represented by:
- feeling of weakness, helplessness;
- ignoring the problem-solving and conflict;
- desire to share their sorrows and experiences with other people;
- increased interest in food;
- anxiety and fear;
- blaming yourself in depression.
Depression often develops in women during pregnancy, after childbirth, and during menopause. PMS can also cause depression. Frequent diets for weight loss, especially strict ones, can also cause mental disorders.
Women are more prone to depression because they tend to be more emotional and react deeply to external stimuli, and they are inclined to recall in memory the unpleasant moments and discuss their problems with others. They do not allow themselves to be distracted by something good, so the depression becomes protracted. Also, women react more sharply to social factors and pressure from society. Men can quickly get distracted from the problem, switching to something else, so for them, stress goes away faster.
Ladies often get depressed because of dissatisfaction with their personal life or disappointment in their marriage. In such a mental state, women become apathetic, so getting out of depression becomes difficult.
However, do not put the blame solely on sex, just by looking at the symptoms of depression. This disease can occur in all people, no matter of gender.
Warning Signs of Depression
There are periods that occur in the life of each person from time to time when one feels unhappy. It can be due to illness, troubles at home or at work, quarrels with friends and relatives, breakups with a beloved one, etc. In this period, dark thoughts often settle in the head, and it’s almost impossible to enjoy trifles, but can this be called depression? Not every stress is considered depression. In order to detect this disease as early as possible and start its treatment, you need to know its indicators.
Check out the list presented below which includes the first symptoms of depression. Perhaps your sadness is not just the result of a bad mood, but an occasion to consult with a doctor for advice.
An adult is able to control his or her own emotions, even if they are strong and quite unpleasant. During depression, this ability is significantly impaired and light sedatives do not bring any effect. Even the slightest unpleasantness can make one mad or cause a flood of tears. After a short time, a person can laugh hysterically because of some nonsense, which before would cause only a smile.
This symptom of depression has a profound effect on men and women who, through their activities, have contact with many other people. Nervous breakdowns, the inability to control oneself, or anger due to every little thing are symptoms of the disease, especially if earlier you were not prone to such unrestrained emotions.
Sleep Disorder and Fatigue
Constant fatigue is one of the signs of depression. In a depressed state, a person has a lack of energy, so one feels tired and feels forced to give up their own usual activities because of this. Often at the beginning of depression, patients abandon their hobbies, as they do not have enough strength for them. A person feels constant drowsiness and needs an increased duration of sleep because of fatigue. While sleeping, even if it lasts more than 12 hours, rest does not invigorate you.
Depression in some cases leads to insomnia and the inability to relax before going to sleep. In this state, a person does not get enough sleep, and because of this one’s nervous system become even more vulnerable so fatigue begins to accumulate. Such a vicious circle can lead to big problems with mental health. Against the backdrop of bad sleep, anxiety can develop, which makes a person irritable and unhappy.
Irritability and anger may be a frequent guest for many people, but with depression bursts of rage or ongoing disgruntlement become very frequent. A sick person can hardly control their own emotions and tolerating others is extremely difficult. Anger without a real cause can spread to everyone who is near, and the number of conflicts increases. Constant irritability and nervousness cause despair, so any little thing can set one off. Often, bursts of anger cause a person to blame one for own impertinence, which worsens the emotional state even further. If you react too strongly to unimportant things, perhaps depression has begun to develop already.
Aimlessness in Life
Goals, interests, and aspirations make a person’s life active and happy, but during depression, one’s existence may seem pointless. The patient loses interest in previous hobbies and is not interested in the world around. The desire to do as little as possible, to give up usual activities, and the inability to receive joy from one’s hobbies and communication with friends are the early signs of depression. If this state lasts long, it can be difficult to distinguish depression from laziness or a bad mood. Patients have problems at work because they show no interest in what they do. Interests in travel and any other entertainment can also be lost. If all this is accompanied by fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness, then it makes sense to see a doctor.
Lack of Focus
Depression causes cognitive impairment, so people with this disease often suffer from memory loss and problems with concentration. An activity that previously did not cause any troubles can now become difficult and require great effort to implement. It is very difficult to keep focus and concentrate on something because a person cannot think straight, and long-term reflections become difficult. This is especially true for people whose work is associated with high attention.
Loss of focus can be so strong that a person cannot cope even with household chores, especially if one feels constantly tired. At the same time, obsessive thoughts can appear which are difficult to get rid of. Usually, these are very unpleasant thoughts, which only aggravate the situation and cause more negative emotions.
Sudden Problems with Memory
Memory impairment and reduced mental abilities are common companions of depression. A person is in a low-energy state, and it is difficult to spend resources on complex mental processes. The onset of depression is sometimes accompanied by such a symptom, and sometimes it develops later. Deterioration of memory is usually accompanied by inhibition of reactions — a person forgets about everyday affairs which always did before.
Memory impairment happens due to elevated cortisol levels, which are unavoidable during prolonged stress. In elderly people, the deterioration of memory due to depression is more obvious and dangerous than in young people.
Depression can be suspected when problems with memory last for two weeks or longer. Short-term deterioration of memory and cognitive functions can be caused by various factors not associated with mental disorders. Fortunately, there are nootropic drugs which allow a person to maintain high mental performance even in a depressed state of mind.
Anxiety is a frequent companion of depression, which can be an addition to anger, irritation, and apathy. Anxiety can be expressed in different ways, however, its most common forms are:
- nervous tic and muscle twitching;
- increased sweating;
- obsessive thoughts and fears;
- nervousness, tension, anxiety;
- rapid breathing;
- rapid pulse.
Nightmares can also be considered a consequence of anxiety. With depression, anxiety occurs without serious causes. Together with anxiety, there can come groundless fears which make a person suffer even more.
Depression and pain often go hand in hand, as they share the same biological path. According to statistics, two-thirds of all people who are depressed suffer from chronic pain. Studies have shown that a depressed condition lowers the pain threshold, and subtle discomfort can be felt like pain. The inability to rejoice leads to a decrease in serotonin, which has an anesthetic effect, so people in a state of stress complain about pain of a different nature four times more. Complaints about pain in the lower back and neck are especially frequent. According to statistics, almost half of people who consulted a doctor with back pain had experienced a depressed state for some time before the appearance of the painful sensations. The second most popular is a headache or abdominal pain.
Depression causes chronic pain, but chronic pain, in turn, can cause depression, so do not allow a physiological illness to become a mental one.
Desire to Eat More
During depression, people often gain weight, and this happens for several reasons. In a bad mood, especially a prolonged one, many people begin to eat a lot, giving preference to sweet and high-calorie foods. Thus, they raise the level of serotonin, since other pleasures do not seem interesting. Unwillingness to cook also leads to the excessive consumption of calories, since people buy semi-finished products or order food which is usually junk. Reducing physical activity also contributes to weight gain. Depressed people have little chance of weight loss, as their motivation and interest in life are weak.
Overeating starts a “vicious circle”: a person gains excess weight, experiences frustration about this, exacerbates depression, and begins to eat even more. Therefore, it is very important to identify any mental disorder as early as possible. If you have noticed that you are gaining extra pounds but do not understand where they came from, perhaps it’s the early stages of depression, especially if you feel other signs of this ailment.
Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Depression is a disease that in most cases is accompanied by addictions, among which smoking and alcohol occupy significant spots. About a third of all people with diagnosed depression often consume alcohol, so cravings for alcohol may be the first warning sign of the disease. A lot of people do not pay attention to this if the amount of alcohol is not very high (a spot of whiskey is not a problem!) and if it does not lead to drunkenness. However, for the diagnosis of developing depression, it is enough to pay attention to the more frequent use of alcoholic beverages for a long time. So, it does not matter if a person has alcoholic intoxication or not.
The same applies to smoking. Smokers may note an increase in the number of cigarettes they smoke per day. If this continues for more than two weeks, your mental health needs close attention. Depression is also observed in people who smoke more than one pack a day, and if their first cigarette is smoked less than five minutes after waking up. This behavior is a classic sign of depression.
At first glance, it may seem that alcohol and cigarettes help to cope with stress, as they cause relaxation and help to relieve tension. This is not so, since these substances cause an impact on the nervous system, aggravating depression even more. Bad habits give only a short-term reduction in tension, but in the end, they make it worse.
Gambling is not always a symptom of depression, but if it causes addiction, then the presence of this disease is quite typical. A depressed person rarely feels strong emotions. Usually, there is little that can cheer up people which are in a depressed state. This is why people suffering from depression love gambling — they start playing for the sake of getting strong emotions and adrenaline. Games really can improve your mood and help to cheer you up, but only if they take up a little time. An addiction is accompanied by excessive attention to gambling, so it’s impossible to diagnose them. Like alcoholism, gambling will supersede all other human interests and contributes to the deterioration of one’s mental condition. In addition to mental problems, a patient will have significant financial losses, because the casino always wins.
Intense Interest in Social Networks
The vast majority of active people use the internet for work, entertainment, and study, but too much interest in virtual communication can become a symptom of oncoming depression. Often, depression includes internet addiction – usually, these two diagnoses are closely related. So, how to know whether your daily dose of the internet is normal or not? If real-life is more interesting to you than being on the internet, then there is no cause for concern. The reason for concern is justified only when all your basic communication becomes virtual or when a person uses the internet in order to escape from reality. It is also possible to recognize depression by scanning the internet resources that people use. Pornography, social networks, and various forums and online games – all these can point to the initial stages of depression. These resources allow people to get emotions quickly and without straining, but this kind of virtual life quickly takes a person out of reality, strengthening the detachment from the outside world even further.
Unnecessary Wastes of Money
It is generally believed that shopping is a kind of medicine that lifts a person’s mood. However, this is true only for conscious purchases of necessary things which will be used. If a person buys up everything that catches one’s eye or reacts to any sales in a store or on the Internet, but does not use the majority of purchased things or quickly loses interest in them, then it might be the start of depression. The value of the purchased item in such cases is extremely low, and a person is interested only in the moment of purchase, as it gives an emotional splash. Uncontrolled shopping increases self-esteem, but can quickly lead to deterioration in the financial situation. It gives only a temporary effect and raises the mood for a short time, and as happens with all addictions, after the end of the shopping a person quickly falls into apathy once again. While harmless at first glance, uncontrolled shopping can also be the main symptom of mania in bipolar disorder.
Desire to Steal Something
The desire to steal from a non-marginal, decent person is a sign of very strong stress and developing depression. Theft is a continuation of the shopping desire, but more extreme. It gives additional emotions, experiences, and adrenaline, which are still not enough during depression. The desire to embezzle and commit an illegal act allows a person to get out of apathy and briefly accelerate cognitive processes. In this case, the stolen thing itself may not be the point of interest to the patient, since only the moment of stealing matters. Such people practically never steal something valuable, since their true interests consist exclusively of obtaining strong emotions, not benefits.
Depression usually becomes a cause for a decreased libido, but some people in this state begin to show increased interest in sex. Their behavioral changes during depression usually lead them to treasonous, casual, risk-related, and group sex. Perverted sexual intercourse becomes an addiction, the purpose of which is getting new emotions. Such actions can lead to physical illnesses and can destroy a personal life. However, casual relationships are not always a sign of depression. They can be just a period of mania in bipolar disorder.
Lack of Personal Care or Hygiene
During depression, people are usually prone to the disorder spreading both into their surrounding space (home, workplace) and their appearance. It can start with trifles, such as the refusal to exercise, rare cleaning of teeth, and refusal to use cosmetics. Plunging into depression, people can refuse to care about their wellness and appearance, and they can start to look like a sick or neglected person. Their body language can also change such as when a person becomes stooped with uncertainty in their gait, their movements become clumsy, and their look is extinct and scattered. Such a worsening in appearance is only the outward side of the problem. People who have chronic illnesses and require therapy because of a lack of personal care are in great danger. A diabetic in a state of depression might forget about regular nutrition and medication and eat a lot of sweets. Being in a depressed state, people can be guilty of serious health problems, which they could create themselves because of their careless attitude towards their health.
The most terrible symptom of depression is the urge to die. Sometimes such a desire is short-lived and arises in response to a strong grief and shock – in such cases, it quickly passes. The major danger of suicidal thoughts in depression is their regular occurrence. This can change the psyche of a person. The instinct of self-preservation is very strong, as it makes a person afraid of death and makes them avoid it in every possible way, but depression and apathy can inhibit this instinct. Often, depression becomes the cause of several unsuccessful suicide attempts, after which a person still has a desire to die.
Stable suicidal thoughts are a key sign of depression, which signals that medical care is needed. In most clinical cases of depression with suicide attempts, people rarely want to be treated and are in apathy, so they need someone who can help them with this.
How to Nip Depression in the Bud Effectively?
If you reveal a few signs of developing depression, but among them there are no suicidal thoughts and this state does not last long, then you can try to cope with depression on your own. The causes of depression may be different, but common recommendations for getting rid of them are suitable for everyone.
Top tips include:
- try to normalize your sleep and day regimen. With depression, problems with sleep are common, but it is very important to do everything possible to avoid a lack of sleep. Lack of sleep greatly damages the nervous system. It is also desirable to sleep in the night time, so that the body can rest as much as possible;
- if you are forgetful and absent-minded, then write down a checklist for the next day, and also add everything you need to remember in a diary. The shopping list will be actual, too;
- try to exclude alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs from your life or at least reduce them as much as possible;
- if you have something associated with the cause of depression, then remove all objects associated with it. For example, if you were recently divorced, do not throw away wedding photos, but instead hide them for a while;
- go in for sports or at least do a few exercises every day. Also, try to eat normal food;
- allow yourself to accept help from outside. During depression, many people want to move away from the world, but in order to cope with the disease sometimes other people’s help, both physical and psychological, is needed;
- if you have problems with concentration and memory, then nootropics can help. Nootropics are special drugs designed to improve cognitive functions. They are safe, effective, and have a fast-action. Qualitative, but cheap nootropics (Artvigil, Modafinil, Modafresh, Nuvigil, and others) you can buy at the ModafinilXL online store. All products there have good characteristics, and convenient delivery which will allow you to avoid going to the pharmacy.
It is difficult to defeat depression independently, and the reasons for this can be different, but the exit is only one – it is necessary to see a doctor. The expert will accurately diagnose the disease, choose the correct treatment, and give you the necessary basic recommendations. However, the first things that need to be done are revealing the depression and motivation to get rid of it and having the desire to return to normal life.