Depression is a major illness affecting more than 200 million individuals from different age groups worldwide. It is a mental disorder that significantly affects a person's outlook and everyday function. Depression is the leading cause of suicidal death, killing an average of 800,000 people each year. Most of the time, people with depression suffer in silence due to the stigma brought by mental illness. But it has not to be this way. Depression is a curable disease. There are pharmacological and psychological treatments geared towards effectively addressing the condition.
What causes an individual to suffer from depression?
Many factors affect one's mental state; social, psychological, and biological factors may trigger depression. People who have gone through traumatic experiences like the death of a loved one or unemployment, and sometimes major news like COVID can set off depression. Age can be a trigger as well; studies show that the more we age, the more likely depression may set in.
The warning signs
The most common misconception is that the feeling of sadness is an automatic sign of depression. The term depression has been loosely used throughout the years to describe feeling sad about an event or a situation. Though that feeling of sadness may be a symptom, depression is far more complicated than that. Understanding the symptoms and warning signs is essential in helping someone who may be suffering in silence.
1. Unexplained pain
Depression affects a person mentally, but it can also manifest physically. Unexplained aches and pains are one of the most common complaints of people suffering from the disease. A recent study shows that 69% of people who have been diagnosed with depression came in to visit their doctors due to unexplained aches and pains in their joints, backs and, stomachs.
2. Erratic sleeping patterns
People with depression tend to either lose sleep or have too much of it. Depression often translates to having little to no energy to go through the day. Suffering from insomnia may lead to depression, as depression may well lead to insomnia. Either way, an erratic sleeping pattern is a cause for alarm.
3. Inability to focus and concentrate
We all experience that feeling of mental cloudiness. It commonly happens when one is under a lot of stress, that focusing on the task at hand seems too challenging to do. For people suffering from depression, the lack of focus becomes too extreme that doing everyday tasks is impossible to do. There are times that they could not even make simple decisions making them unable to function entirely.
4. Changes in appetite
Dealing with depression can often affect one's eating habits. Some people overeat and gain a lot of weight, while others lose a significant amount of weight for eating little to nothing at all. Whichever way a person deals with his depression, an extreme change in the way he eats can affect a person's overall well-being.
5. Uncontrolled emotions
Although being irritated with little things or getting agitated often can just be an innate personality. But a sudden extreme shift than the usual may be a sign that that person is suffering from depression. These bursts of uncontrolled emotion can lead to thoughts of harm towards another person, or in some cases, self-harm.
These are just five of the most common symptoms of depression. Most of the symptoms may appear normal if you look at it from the outside. However, extreme behaviors may be a tall tell sign of something bigger than what is being seen. Depression is not an easy condition to deal with.
People suffering from the disease need positive reinforcement from family and friends. Listening and understanding what they are going through will go a long way. Ultimately, seeking professional help is still the best way to deal with depression. But helping them starts with recognizing that there is a problem and acting on it will save a life.