Depression affections roughly 20 million people in the United States, but early signs and symptoms vary for each person. Everyday Health discusses 10 signs to keep on your radar.
- Fatigue or Lack of Energy
Everyone feels tired or lethargic occasionally, so lack of energy itself doesn’t mean you are experiencing a depressive episode. Dr. Gabriela Cora of the Florida Neuroscience Center said, “If fatigue lingers and is accompanied by low mood and decreased motivation or interest, this lack of energy may be tied to early signs of depression.”
Sleep problems are common with people suffering from depression, but since sleep patterns depending on the person, it’s more important to keep an eye on any change in your usual sleep pattern. If you are experiencing consistent sleep disturbances over a long period of time without a trigger (such as a big project at work), it may be a sign of depression.
- Sleeping too much
Too much sleep is also a sign of depression. If you are managing depression, it is important to still get the standard eight hours of sleep – no more, no less.
- Changes in appetite and weight
Extreme changes in appetite, eating habits, and weight can be a sign of depression, especially in conjunction with other symptoms such as feeling down or unmotivated. If you gain 5 percent or more of your body weight in about month-long time-frame, you may want to talk to your doctor about depression.
- Physical pain
Depression symptoms vary from person to person. For some people, this mental disorder manifests as physical pain.
“In some cases, people will visit their physician for vague abdominal pain, untreatable headaches, and aches and pains that don’t seem to go away,” Cora said. “It’s wise for all physicians and practitioners to keep depression in mind.”
- Colors aren’t as bright
Some people see the world around them as more dull when they are suffering depression. There are also people who do not enjoy music as much when depressed. It is not uncommon for people to state that they enjoy music more after treatment or that colors appear brighter.
- Feeling burnt out at work
We all undergo stressful periods at work, but sometimes this feeling can be a sign of a depressive episode, especially if it occurs regularly over a long period of time.
According to Cora: “Many people who say they’re stressed and burned out at work are actually feeling depressed. ‘Burnout’ is a much more socially acceptable term than ‘depression’ is.”
- Memory problems
Issues focusing, feeling distracted, and having trouble remembering things are all signs of depression. When these cognitive impairments are particularly severe they are referred to as pseudodementia.
- Social withdrawal
Social withdrawal is often seen as one of the most important and harmful symptoms of depression because it often ignites a vicious cycle of a person feeling more and more depressed. Additionally, if someone has withdrawn from social interactions and they begin to feel suicidal, it’s more likely that a suicide attempt will go unnoticed.
- Unexplained sadness
Again, we all feel sad from to time. However, there are three categories you can use to help determine if your sadness is a symptom of depression: intensity, duration, and cause (or lack thereof).
“The sadness of depression stays with you and doesn’t need to have a particular trigger,” explains Cora. “Although we can sometimes track specific stressors that trigger first episodes of depression, we can’t necessarily track any subsequent stressors.”