Statista reports that 7.4% of adults suffered from depression in 2016. That’s only adults who reported the issue as well. Many suffer in silence. The serious nature of this disease warrants immediate attention. It is important to identify signs of depression to avoid suffering from the worst outcomes. While many people decide to stay quiet about mental health challenges and agonize alone, 3.6 million sought professional help from a psychologist in 2019.
It is crucial to recognize depression in yourself and others. An obvious reason for wanting to identify and treat the symptoms of depression is because suffering with depression negatively impacts quality of life. Additionally, the risk of suicide in people with depression increases significantly. A CDC study found that suicide is the 19th leading cause of death. With the right help, suicide is preventable in many cases.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression can be a one-time occurrence or a condition that comes and goes throughout life. It is not unusual for people with depression to suffer from several of the symptoms below.
- Feelings of sadness
- Excessive irritability
- Frustration over trivial things
- Trouble concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Slowed speaking or moving
- Lack of interest in social activities
- Problems at work or school
What makes depression such a sneaky disease is that many suffer in silence and are unaware they are depressed. There are subtle symptoms that aren't always associated with this condition at first glance.
There are also people who make an effort to hide their mental health struggles from the people in their life. It is important to understand that some of the symptoms listed below are consistent with other issues so it is recommended that you avoid jumping to conclusions. Get all of the facts and some professional advice if these symptoms become apparent either individually or as a group. Below are some subtle life changes to evaluate that may or may not be related to depression.
- Appetite and weight fluctuations
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Unexplained aches and pains that suddenly appear
- Changes in sleep
- Forced smiles and a fake happy face
The tips below offer excellent strategies for minimizing the troublesome effects of depression. That being said, speaking with a doctor and working out a plan that fits the individual is always important.
- Be active and exercise - Set aside at least thirty minutes per day to walk, garden, or jog. It is not important what you do, as long as you're moving. If carving out a 30-minute chunk of time proves difficult, then consider breaking this up into 5 or 10 minute junks of time. Every little bit helps.
- Eat a balanced diet focusing on the nutrients necessary for good health - By cutting out junk food, soft drinks, sweets and fast food, you're certain to have a better frame of mind. Then increase your servings of vegetables and fruit into the mix. This type of diet improves both physical and mental health.
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep every night - Getting a good night's sleep is crucial for staying positive. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports a significant link between sleep and depression with insomnia sufferers ten times more likely to experience symptoms of depression. There are lifestyle cures for insomnia such as getting enough exercise, turning off electronics an hour before bedtime, cutting coffee, alcohol and smoking from your diet, limit naps, limit eating or drinking in the hours right before bed, keep a consistent sleep schedule, make the bedroom comfortable for sleeping, and banish disruptive pets from the bedroom.
- Challenge negative thinking - Write down negative thoughts that are recurring. Examine the validity of these thoughts.
- Set achievable goals each day - Rather than focusing on enormous tasks that are difficult to accomplish quickly, break these goals down into smaller pieces to encourage a sense of accomplishment each day as you move closer to meeting the bigger goals.
- Connect regularly with friends and family members that make you feel good about yourself.
- Seek professional help if you are experiencing ongoing negative thoughts that don't respond to the lifestyle changes listed above.
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