Depression is a common health condition. Indeed, it’s anticipated that, by 2030, it’ll be the world’s most common illness. Anyone can get depression, but it’s more common in people who have a family history of depression. In most cases, depressive episodes pass in time, though some people can experience intermittent depression throughout their life.
In this post, we’ll look at some common symptoms of depression, as well as provide some information on treatment solutions and lifestyle changes that can help alleviate symptoms.
Symptoms of Depression
It’s important to note that depression affects people in different ways. The most significant symptom is arguably how you feel yourself; even if you don’t experience common symptoms of depression, if you feel depressed or sad for a significant period of time, then it’s recommended to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. You may also seek help if you’re feeling low and you’ve recently had an experience that can trigger depression — for example, stressful life events such as losing employment or losing a relative, can cause depressive episodes.
Some common symptoms of depression include:
Depression brings about feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, and hopelessness, all of which contribute to a low mood. For most people, their depression will manifest itself as a general sadness. In children, this low mood is more likely to be evident as irritability.
Low Energy/Increased Tiredness
Though depression is a mental health condition, there can also be physical symptoms, too. One of the most common symptoms among people with depression is a decrease in energy levels and an increase in tiredness. This tiredness symptom may present itself as sleeping too much or not enough. A single day of feeling overly tired will not mean you’re depressed, but if you’ve been tired for weeks or months, then it’s worth speaking to your doctor.
Losing Interest in Hobbies
Losing interest in things that used to make you happy can be a sign of depression. For example, if you always enjoyed going hiking in nature, but lose interest in the hobby and don’t replace it with another hobby, then you may be experiencing depression. It’s important to remember that losing interest in a hobby doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed; people change, after all. But if something has been a big part of your life and you’ve suddenly lost interest, then it may be worth investigating.
Changes in Weight
Depression can affect a person’s appetite, which may cause them to eat much or not enough. This can lead to weight gain or weight loss. There are many illnesses and conditions that can cause weight gain and weight loss, however.
Depression can be taxing on the brain, making it more difficult to think clearly and concentrate. While it’s normal to occasionally have difficulty making decisions or recalling details, if you’re experiencing a prolonged episode of brain fog, then it’s recommended to speak to your doctor.
Treatments for Depression
There are many effective treatments for depression. Some of these require a prescription, as in certain medications, but also non-prescription solutions, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, are also available.
Therapy involves talking to a trained professional about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In some instances, simply sharing your experience can be enough to improve symptoms of depression, though therapists also offer practical tips, too.
There is a range of anti-depression prescription drugs available. These work by changing the chemical makeup of the brain — for example, by increasing the brain’s capacity to produce serotonin. You’ll need to be prescribed this medication by your doctor, and figuring out which drug is right for you — and at what dose — may take some time.
Most people adopt lifestyle changes to help ease their symptoms of depression. Indeed, lifestyle changes are often prescribed alongside therapy and medication. Some common ways to alleviate symptoms of depression include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, spending time with loved ones, improving the quality of your sleep, and avoiding alcohol.
While depression can feel like an isolating experience, it’s important to keep in mind that millions of people across the country — and many more people across the world — experience depression at some point in their lives. With correct diagnosis and treatment, the vast majority of people can manage their depression and lead rich, fulfilling lives. If you believe that you may have depression, then speak to your healthcare provider. They’ll be able to diagnose the condition and make recommendations on how to manage the illness.