What it is and how to stop it
What is Depression?
Depression. Is it when you feel down? Sort of. "Depression is a common but serious illness." says NIMH (Nation Institute of Mental Health). NIMH also relayed the fact that most people don't look for treatment. And there a treatment. Depression is seperated into several groups. 2 of the main ones are major depression and persistant depression. Major depression is when you can't eat, sleep and feel tired all the time. Persistant depression is a mood that lasts for more than 2 years.
How do you know someone (or if you) has depression?
According to SAVE, (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), says some signs of depression in adults are:
- Persistent sad or "empty" mood.
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic and/or guilty.
- Substance abuse.
- Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities.
- Disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns.
- Irritability, increased crying, anxiety or panic attacks.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
- Thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or attempts.
- Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.
- Uncontrollable anger with aggressive or destructive behavior, possibly hitting themselves or others, kicking or self-biting or head banging.
- Harming animals.
- Continual disobedience.
- Easily frustrated, frequent crying, low self-esteem, overly sensitive.
- Inability to pay attention, remember, or make decisions, easily distracted, mind goes blank.
- Energy fluctuations from lethargic to frenzied activity, with periods of normalcy.
- Eating or sleeping problems.
- Bedwetting, constipation, diarrhea.
- Impulsiveness, accident-prone.
- Chronic worry & fear, clingy, panic attacks.
- Extreme self-consciousness.
- Slowed speech & body movements.
- Disorganized speech - hard to follow when telling you a story, etc.
- Physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, stomachaches, arms or legs ache, nail-biting, pulling out hair or eyelashes. (ruling out other medical causes)
- Suicidal talk or attempts.
- Physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, stomachaches, neck aches, arms or legs hurt due to muscle tension, digestive disorders. (ruling out other medical causes)
- Persistent unhappiness, negativity, irritability.
- Uncontrollable anger or outbursts of rage.
- Overly self-critical, unwarranted guilt, low self-esteem.
- Inability to concentrate, think straight, remember, or make decisions, possibly resulting in refusal to study in school or an inability (due to depression or attention deficit disorder) to do schoolwork.
- Slowed or hesitant speech or body movements, or restlessness (anxiety).
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities.
- Low energy, chronic fatigue, sluggishness.
- Change in appetite, noticeable weight loss or weight gain, or abnormal eating patterns.
- Chronic worry, excessive fear.
- Preoccupation with death themes in literature, music, drawings, speaking of death repeatedly, fascination with guns/knives.
- Suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts.
And in the Elderly:
- Unusual complaints of aches and pains (back, stomach, arms, legs, head, chest), fatigue, slowed movements and speech, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, weight increase or decrease, blurred vision, dizziness, heart racing, anxiety.
- Inability to concentrate, remember or think straight (sometimes mistaken for dementia). An overall sadness or apathy, withdrawal; inability to find pleasure in anything.
- Irritability, mood swings or constant complaining; nothing seems to make the person happy.
- Talk of worthlessness, not being needed anymore, excessive and unwarranted guilt.
- Frequent doctor visits without relief in symptoms; all tests come out negative.
- Alcoholism, which can mask an underlying depression.
- Decreased need for sleep.
- Restless, agitated, can't sit still. Increased energy, or an inability to slow down.
- Racing, disorganized thoughts, easily distracted.
- Rapid, increased talking or laughing
- Grandiose ideas, increased creativity.
- Overly excited, euphoric, giddy, exhilarated.
- Excessive irritability, on edge.
- Poor judgment, impulsiveness, spending sprees
- Embarrassing social behavior.
- Paranoia, delusions, hallucinations.
How can you help?
The best way to help is to let people know about depression. Help people you think may have depression find treatment early on. Getting treatment fast can help, especially because depression can worsen. Support friends and family who have depression and let them know you love them. This might help them not consider suicidal thoughts.