We often think of depression as feelings of sadness; however, that isn’t quite the case. Sadness, laziness, melancholy, and unmotivated periods are completely normal and we all have them from time to time. Depression is more serious, and it is characterized by an overwhelming sense of emptiness and despair. It often keeps you from living a normal life and usually lasts for prolonged periods. Due to its seriousness, we should know how to recognize depression in ourselves and others, and perhaps even find out why it happens.
The first thing you can do is see if you notice any of these common symptoms of depression. You should note that these are not all of the symptoms, but they are some of the most common ones.
– Hopelessness – People with depression often feel hopeless, like nothing will ever change. There is also a feeling of impending doom, which puts some people in a state of complete apathy. They lose interest in other people and activities that they used to love. This feeling can bring them as far as to think that they will never feel joy again.
– Sleep problems – Depression can cause different sleep issues, depending on other factors. Some people experience insomnia and are not able to get a full night’s rest. Others might experience oversleeping – sometimes they would feel the need to sleep again even right after they wake up.
– Appetite changes – Appetite changes, just like sleep problems, can manifest themselves differently. While some people lose appetite completely and therefore suffer extreme weight loss, others might experience a need to constantly eat which results in an extreme weight gain.
– Loss of energy – Another very common symptom is a loss of energy and fatigue. People with this symptom often experience an extreme lack of energy even after they finish a simple task.
– Irritability – Depression often brings out irritability and anger in some people and they might act more aggressively than usual.
– Recklessness – Sometimes depression can be the cause of different reckless behaviors such as addictions.
Types of depression
There are several well-known types of depression:
– Mild and moderate – these are the most common types of depression. Even though the symptoms are not as serious as with the major depression, they can be a problem for your everyday life. Moreover, these types of depression often last very long.
– Major depression – the symptoms are more severe and they last for about 6 months without proper treatment.
– Atypical depression – people with atypical depression might feel completely alright whenever something good happens, such as when they are surrounded by people they love.
– Seasonal affective disorder – during winter, the lack of daylight can cause depression which lasts for a couple of months.
The roots of depression
There are many different reasons why someone might experience depression. Sometimes it is triggered by a specific event such as abuse, conflict, or the death of a loved one. Even some events such as graduation can lead to depression – people often feel helpless right after graduation when there isn’t anyone telling them exactly where to go and what they need to do. Different illnesses might also be a cause of depression, as well as certain medications. There is even acne medication that is now known to cause depression. Lastly, for some people, depression can be in their family history. Genetics plays a big role and should not be ignored when looking at possible roots for depression.