If you have a family member dealing with dark moods or depression but you are not sure if it is serious enough to go and look for medical help, this article will clarify your observations and help you make the right decision.
It’s in the experience – not necessarily in the word
Depression is one of the words that have found its way out of the medical dictionary into people’s everyday language. Clinical depression is however an illness and has not much to do with feeling depressed about something which passes after a short period of time. This is an illness and has nothing to do with a character flaw or any personal faults or deficiencies.
If you want to clarify if your loved one is suffering from depression you will notice the following symptoms:
1. Loss of interest or pleasure in all activities
People who suffer from depression significantly lose interest in things that they previously enjoyed. This change might happen slowly or after a significant incident causing stress in their lives.
2. Changes in weight or appetite
This could be either significant weight gain or loss, depending on the person.
3. Changes in sleeping patterns
Loved ones may experience sleepless or restless nights, might be unable to sleep or wake up early in the morning, they might sleep too long or too much and in general feel more depressed in the morning.
4. Fatigue or loss of energy
Not just because of the above-mentioned sleeping patterns but also due to the effects of the illness itself, these people feel a lack of energy and therefore also lack of motivation.
5. Low self-confidence paired with irrational thinking
They often speak of worthlessness and hopelessness and have generally lost belief in themselves and their abilities. Their beliefs are not based on reality. In many cases they experience inappropriate guilt or are preoccupied with physical disease.
6. Mental challenges
Depressed family members may have trouble concentrating, remembering things or find themselves unable to make decisions.
7. Thoughts of suicide
Many individuals with depression have reoccurring thoughts of death, suicide, may wish not to be here, feel that the people around them are better off without them. Some also attempt to take their own lives. It is important to talk to your loved one about this and ask them directly. Avoiding the topic does not make it go away.
8. Physical changes
You might observe various physical changes from disinterest or less interest in physical appearance, walking with a bowed stance or slouching. They may lack expression when talking or it may seem that talking comes with great effort.
In addition to the above loss of sexual drive is common.
9. Feelings of sadness or irritability
Depressed individuals are experiencing sadness, ‘a dark cloud’ hanging over them, feel irritable and often see only the negative in any given situation. This is connected to their irrational thinking plus the hormonal changes in the brain.
10. Restlessness or decreased activity
Some might feel restless or battle with a sense of boredom.
Remember that not all the symptoms are necessary, however if you notice four or more of the ones mentioned for a time period longer than two weeks I suggest you contact professional help.