Most people experience brief periods of unhappiness or sadness at some point in their life. However, when these feelings intensify over time depression may be the cause. Learning to recognize depression symptoms is an essential part of learning to live with this condition.
While depression symptoms can vary with each individual, there are some symptoms common to the condition. Many people are able to manage these symptoms and go on with daily life. However, some people become overwhelmed with these feelings and need to seek treatment. People who find they are unable to control their feelings of hopelessness could be battling depression. Other depression symptoms include changes in sleep patterns, increased alcohol use, appetite changes, weight loss, irritability, aggression and helplessness.
Many people have depression symptoms that are less severe but are still problematic. Some people find it difficult to enjoy their favorite activities or may not be able to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time. Energy levels may also plummet in those with depressive conditions. Sluggishness is a common problem in people who struggle with this condition. Depression may also cause physical symptoms such as aching joints, increased pain, stomach pain and severe headaches.
Most people who have depressive conditions respond well on their own or with medical treatment. However, some people have difficulty recovering from depression and are at an increased risk for suicide. Depression symptoms can lead to feelings of extreme helplessness that makes rational thinking difficult. Some signs depression is worsening to the point of suicide include unusual preoccupation with death, verbalizing the desire to kill oneself, reckless behavior and getting financial affairs in order.
Depression symptoms are often different in men and women. Men are often reluctant to admit to feelings of hopelessness and are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol as a result of this condition. Older men are at an increased risk of suicide when depressed. However, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression and anxiety. Rapidly changing hormones after pregnancy or menopause may cause depression symptoms to appear. Teenagers can also experience depression symptoms as well as adults. It is often difficult to tell when teenagers are struggling to cope with daily life. Some teens are grouchy, lose their temper easily or exhibit hostile behavior. Others may become withdrawn and abuse substances such as alcohol. Untreated depression in teenagers can lead to acts of homicide or suicide.
Depression is a serious condition but there are treatments and medications available that can help manage it. Having the support of family and friends is also key to reducing depression symptoms. Mental health professionals can teach skills that can help people learn to manage depression symptoms which is the first step to leading a normal and happy life.