Identifying Signs of Depression
More than a mood, for many it’s a disease that can be successfully treated.
While many of us have stormy days now and then, other people seem to go for weeks on end without a hint of sunshine. And that’s a sure sign of depression.
Consider: Have you lost your zest and energy for life? Are you avoiding friends and perhaps letting phone calls go to voicemail? If so, you may be one of 20 million Americans who suffers from depression.
But what exactly is depression? It’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it something a person can readily snap out of. Instead, depression is a disease that can affect how someone thinks and feels. If left untreated, depression can lead to anxiety or even thoughts of suicide.
Here are some warning signs. For you or a loved one:
- Feeling sad, empty or pessimistic?
- Undergoing irritability and restlessness?
- Experiencing decreased energy and motivation?
- Sleeping too much – or too little?
- Losing interest in things you once thought pleasurable?
- Overeating – or losing interest in food?
- Having difficulty concentrating and making decisions?
- Experiencing pains, headaches or digestive distress that does not respond to treatment?
- Contemplating suicide?
“As bad as these symptoms sound, the good news is that great strides have been made in the treatment of depression,” reports Donna L. Henshue, RN, for Morningstar Senior Living’s Life Care Community, Moravian Hall Square in Nazareth, PA. “Start by having a frank talk with your physician.”
Your doctor can rule out other possible health or medication-related causes. He or she can also prescribe an antidepressant that may break up the clouds that seem to gather daily.
With the right help, you or a loved one who is experiencing depression can find the strength to move forward and return to the relationships and activities that make you feel good again.