Warning Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depressed Woman Receiving Support From FriendWarning signs of depression are basically the same, whether it’s mild or major depression.

Here are the 10 main symptoms of depression to help you to be more aware of the problem, whether it’s for yourself or for a loved one.

The dictionary definition of depression is “sadness: a state of unhappiness and hopelessness.” And most of us feel sad, unhappy or hopeless at times.

So feeling depressed is a natural reaction to loss and life’s other struggles.

But when these feelings become overwhelming and lasting, they interfere with living a happy, healthy, active life. And since antidepressants are the most prescribed drug in the U.S., depression is clearly an epidemic.

The 10 Main Warning Signs of Depression

Mild depression is generally considered to be temporary, lasting only a few days or weeks, while major or clinical depression is a mood that persists.

Knowing the symptoms of depression helps you turn the condition around.

If you discover that you or someone you care about have at least four or five of the depression symptoms listed below, it’s time to either get help or start the process of learning how to overcome depression naturally.

1. Overwhelming feeling of hopelessness – A pessimistic “what’s the use” outlook on life is one of the most common symptoms of depression.

2. Loss of interest and lack of enjoyment – Another major signal of depression is having little to no interest in activities that were once thought of as pleasurable, such as hobbies, sex or socializing with friends.

3. Insomnia and fatigue or oversleeping – Typical warning signs of depression include lack of restful sleep or sleeping more than normal, plus physical and mental fatigue, where everything seems too difficult.

4. Persistently sad, unhappy or lethargic – A seemingly “empty” inability to feel any emotions at all or unshakable feelings of deep sadness, debilitating fear, unhappiness and/or lethargy are common.

5. Loss of appetite or craving to overeat – Depression often affects eating, usually resulting in a loss of appetite and weight loss. But sometimes depression increases food cravings and weight gain.

6. Trouble focusing or making decisions – A depressed person may lack concentration, be indecisive or have trouble remembering details. They can also be restless and agitated with slower body movements.

7. Anxiety, easily irritated and frustrated – Other signs of depression are irritability, frustration and angry outbursts, even over small matters.

8. Strong sense of worthlessness or guilt – A depressed person often fixates on past failures, taking on inappropriate self-blame and guilt.

9. Aches, pains and digestive problems – Sometimes there are unexplained physical problems, like indigestion, cramps and headaches or other aches and pains that don’t ease up even after treatment.

10. Frequent thoughts of death or suicide – Suicide is the worst possible result of depression. Overwhelming emotional distress can lead a person to at least consider suicide, even if they don’t plan to carry it out.

But suicides rarely happen without warning signs. Usually a person talks about it or makes a first attempt before successfully ending their life. If someone you know shows suicidal signs, get help immediately! You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Even mild symptoms of depression can become more serious if you don’t take the steps necessary to learn how to overcome depression.

So use these ten warning signs of depression to recognize the symptoms and start turning your life around by overcoming depression naturally.

More Commonsense Health for You:
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The Importance of Eating a Healthy Diet
How to Stop Emotional Eating and Overeating
How to Overcome Depression & Anxiety Naturally

References:

Cassano P, Fava M. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Depression and public health: an overview. J Psychosom Res 2002; 53(4):849-57.

Marlene P. Freeman, MD: Nutrition and Psychiatry. American Journal of Psychiatry.  Association of Western and traditional diets with depression and anxiety in women. Am J Psychiatry 2010;167(3)::244-247

Reynolds CF III, Dew MA, Pollock BG, Mulsant BH, et al. New England Journal of Medicine. Maintenance treatment of major depression. N Engl J Med. 2006 16;354(11):1130-8.

Deligiannidis K, Freeman MP. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of depressive disorders in women. Psychiatr Clin North Am 2010;33(2):441-63

Luoma JB, Pearson JL, Martin CE. American Journal of Psychiatry. Contact with mental health and primary care prior to suicide: a review of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:909-16.

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