We all feel sad from time to time. But when this sadness never seems to fade away, it might be a symptom of depression. Knowing how to spot depression can help protect you and your loved ones. With early detection, you can beat the blues.
Depression is a medical condition that affects how people think and behave, and the way they feel and function. More than feeling down or being sad, depression may affect a person's interest in activities, work and quality of life. It can happen to anyone.
Depression commonly happens to adults who find difficulty coping with certain life stressors. Relationship issues, marital woes, financial difficulties, unemployment, life-threatening or chronic illness, lack of social support, loss of a loved one, or even personality can make a person prone to depression. Beyond just sadness, depression interferes with how you engage with people and day-to-day life.
You may be suffering from depression if you experience five or more of these symptoms every day for two weeks or longer. The acronym “SAD CAGES” can help you better remember these symptoms:
- S – Sleep disturbances
- A – Appetite change
- D – Depressed mood of feelings of sadness over a sustained period of time
- C – Concentration problems
- A – Anhedonia: Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- G – Guilt or shame
- E – Energy and enthusiasm low
- S – Suicidal thoughts due to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
It refers to an atypical form of depression wherein a person appears happy and content to others while internally suffering with depressive symptoms. Someone can be smiling and functioning normally, and at the same time be depressed. So, it often goes undetected.
Risk Factors for Depression
Challenging life events can increase your risk of depression especially when you find it difficult to cope with them. Some of the life stressors that can increase the risk of depression may include:
- Relationship problems
- Financial difficulties
- Physical illnesses
- Lack of support
- Loss of a loved one
You can keep depression at bay by making a few lifestyle adjustments and taking active steps to improve and manage your mood. Because your mood is influenced by your thoughts and actions, it's a good idea to pursue activities that you enjoy so as to lift your mood.
Some of these activities can include:
- Spending time with friends and having fun.
- Making time to relax and enjoy yourself.
- Taking care of your physical health, such as engaging in a physical activity you enjoy, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep.
- Organizing your time so you feel in control.
- Finding things to laugh about.
- Sharing your feelings with others, or writing them down in a journal to help clear your thoughts.
- Pursuing activities that you enjoy and are interested in.
- Learning ways to manage stress effectively.
- Focusing on the things to be grateful for in life.
- Practicing acts of kindness which also helps to boost positive emotions.
Depression is nearly twice as common among women as men, according to the Center's for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Below are some symptoms of depression that tend to appear more often in females:
- mood swings
- ruminating (dwelling on negative thoughts)
Also, some types of depression are unique to females, such as:
“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO ENJOY YOUR LIFE
TO BE HAPPY—ITS ALL THAT MATTERS.”