How Do I Know that I Am Depressed?

How Do I Know that I Am Depressed

Being sad is not the same as being depressed. Depression is a term frequently used loosely to describe how we feel when we are gone through a breakup or after a bad week at work. But major depressive disorder, a type of depression, is much more complicated. Major depressive disorder or depression is a state of mind in which a person undergoes a mood disorder involving a constant loss of pleasure or interest in daily life activities. This constant feeling of sadness differs from mood fluctuations that people often experience as a part of their lives.

Do You Know How Prevalent Depression is?

Depression affects more than 6.7% of the US population aged 18 and older or about 17.1 million American adults in a given year. Though depression can occur at any age, the average age of onset is 30.5 years.

How Do I Identify Depression?

Specific symptoms determine whether it is depression or the sadness we sometimes experience in life. Choosing if unshakable and persistent dark feelings from depression may be the first step towards recovery and healing. Notice these warning signs to know if it is time for you to see a mental health expert.

  • Lost interest – Depression may take the enjoyment or pleasure out of the things you once loved. A withdrawal or loss of interest from activities you looked forward to – hobbies, sports, going out with friends and family, is yet another tell-tale sign of major depressive disorder. Another area where you may lose pleasure is sex. Symptoms may include decreased sex drive and impotence.
  • Hopeless outlook – Major depression is a mood disorder that impacts how you feel about your life in general. Having a weak or hopeless outlook on your life is a common symptom of depression. Other feelings can be inappropriate guilt, self-hate, or worthlessness. Recurring, common thoughts of depression can be vocalized as “What’s the point?” or “It’s all my fault.”
  • Increased fatigue and sleep problems – A part of why you might stop doing things you love is that you feel tired. Depression usually comes with an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and a lack of energy, among the most debilitating signs of depression. Depression is also linked with insomnia because one could lead to the other and vice versa. They may also make each other worse. The lack of restful quality sleep may also lead to anxiety.
  • Anxiety – While depression has not been shown to read to anxiety, both conditions often occur together. Symptoms of anxiety may include rapid heart rate, heavy or increased sweating, rapid breathing, muscle twitching or trembling, trouble focusing, and nervousness.
  • Changes in appetite and weight – Appetite and weight may fluctuate for people with depression. This feeling can be different for each individual. Some people may have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others would not be hungry and will tend to lose weight. One indication of whether dietary changes are linked to depression is if they are intentional or not. If they are not, they can be caused by depression.
  • Uncontrollable emotions – One minute it is an outburst of anger. The next minute you are crying uncontrollably. Nothing outside you prompted this change, but your emotions are up and down at a moment’s notice. Depression may cause mood swings.

Depression and Women

Depression is about two times as likely to occur in women as in men, as per the centers for disease control (CDC). Research suggests that the causes of depression in women are different than those in men.

This could be due to:

  • differences in experience
  • cultural expectations
  • biological factors

Following are the types of depression that are unique to females:

  1. premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome.
  2. postpartum depression, which occurs after giving birth.

Women’s hormone changes can play a role in when and how depression affects them.

Depression and Men

Depression often leads to men drinking alcohol in excess, engaging in risk-taking, and displaying anger. Depressed men usually tend to work without a break, avoid social situations and families, display controlling or abusive behavior in relationships, and experience difficulty keeping up with family responsibilities and work. Some causes of depression in men could be drug abuse, major stressful life events, low self-esteem, failure to achieve goals in life, career problems, losing a job, worrying about failing as a family provider, and financial and legal issues.

When Should I Seek Help?

If you have experienced some of the symptoms mentioned above for more than two weeks, you could be suffering from a major depressive disorder. Recognizing that you are depressed is vital to get the proper assistance. Depression affects millions of people, but several treatments are available, from lifestyle changes to medications. Whatever treatment path you choose, asking for professional help is the first step towards returning to your usual self again.

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