5 Common Signs of Depression
The warning signs of depression often start out nearly unnoticeable, making it crucial to pay attention to subtle, cumulative changes in the behavior of anyone thought to be at risk. If someone exhibits serious symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, a tendency to hurt others or persistent feelings of anxiety that do not go away, seek immediate medical attention from a mental health professional, your family doctor or a toll-free mental-health hotline.
Someone with depression may feel angry, anxious or restless. This may come out as irritability at seemingly mundane things. For instance, someone could become overly irritated when taking out the trash, doing dishes or watching television. Some may turn irritability into aggressive or reckless behavior.
People with depression may have a sudden change of appetite. A depressed person may eat too much or consume too little for days at a time without any obvious reason, such as pregnancy or illness. Digestive problems could lead to a noticeable weight loss or gain over time. A weight change of more than 5 percent of body weight in one month could be a sign of depressive behavior. This symptom could be dangerous, as weight gain could lead to heart disease, and weight loss may cause immune system problems.
A loved one with depression may sleep too much or not enough. This person could wake up very early in the morning or fail to fall asleep normally at night. Someone with depression may also sleep too much and have trouble waking up in the morning. Lack of sleep might lead to other health concerns beyond depression, including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and stroke.
Loss of Interest
One common warning sign of depression is a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed. This could involve social interactions, hobbies, sports or sex. Everyday, mundane activities may become a struggle. A lack of energy brought on by other symptoms, such as insomnia and appetite loss, may cause apathy about regular tasks.
A person with depression may have difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions. Loved ones may notice these subtle signs as something slightly amiss that occurs more and more frequently in an otherwise healthy person.
If you are close to someone, you may notice when he shows symptoms and warning signs of depression. Patients diagnosed with depression describe the feeling as impending doom, lifelessness and apathy. Some people say the feeling is like a "black hole" that is impossible to climb out of. Although not everyone with depression suffers from the same symptoms, if you see what you think is depression in a loved one, you can encourage him to get professional help.