According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, 8.4% of adults in the country have experienced at least one depressive episode. Depression is a significant mental health issue that makes one feel uninterested in activities they previously enjoyed, and they can constantly feel sad and hopeless for no concrete reason. Understanding some warning signs of depression may enable one to seek timely help to heal from the condition:
Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) suggests that individuals with major depressive episodes experience loss of interest in their daily activities over a period of at least two weeks. For example, they may be withdrawn from their hobbies and pastimes or experience low sex drives. Depression typically affects one’s ability to experience pleasure.
Changes in the sleep cycle
Drastic changes in one’s sleep schedule are among the common symptoms of depression. Individuals with depression may either face extreme difficulties in falling asleep or may indulge in oversleeping. Research has demonstrated a strong association between depression and sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.
Clinical depression often causes an individual to pull away or withdraw from social situations, even minimizing interactions with one’s close friends and family members. Such reclusive behavior can worsen other depressive symptoms, causing a vicious cycle.
Depression may lead to or be accompanied by constant feelings of low self-worth. Such feelings lead to negative, critical self-talk that can be self-damaging in the long run. Research studies have depicted the harmful effects of such negative self-talk on cognitive functioning and overall well-being.
A latent sign of depression is physical pain accompanied by mental and emotional distress. Individuals with depression may experience pain in certain body parts, including the back and head. Sometimes, the pain may aggravate other depression symptoms, leading to a vicious cycle of physical and mental discomfort.
Difficulties with concentration
Issues with concentration, memory, and other cognitive functions are common symptoms of depression. Persons with depression may often lose their chain of thought while communicating or may be easily distracted. Such symptoms can worsen their social interactions and promote reclusiveness. It can also affect their overall productivity at the workplace.
Depression may also involve acute loss of energy and feelings of constant fatigue and sluggishness. Heaviness of the body and the inability to complete even basic day-to-day tasks can affect one’s daily functioning significantly.
Negligence of personal hygiene
Depressive episodes can cause one to neglect basic personal hygiene activities like brushing one’s teeth, bathing, combing, and shaving. Prolonged negligence of personal hygiene can cause physical problems like infections and allergies.
Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Many individuals with depression often report being unable to imagine a better future or have pleasant memories of the past. Consequently, depressive thoughts and perpetual feelings of despair can lead one to contemplate or attempt suicide.
Impulsive and reckless behavior is a common symptom associated with depressive disorder. Such behaviors may stem from a surge of nervous energy, often caused upon having contemplated suicide. Studies suggest that such reckless behaviors are often more prevalent among men, who may indulge in overspending, risky sexual behaviors, participating in dangerous sports, etc., when grappling with depression.