Nowadays, mental conditions have become prevalent. Most people know at least one individual struggling with depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness. However, those same people often don’t know that at least one or two of their close friends, family members, and loved ones are also suffering from depression.
Although depression is a common mental health condition, it can be difficult to spot in people you care about because signs can vary depending on gender and age. Not to mention that there are different depression diagnoses. Most people may display different symptoms and signs, which also makes it hard to determine if a person is truly suffering from a depressive disorder.
Even so, there are common signs that depressed people exhibit, irrespective of age and gender. Often, these signs are part of their normal lows. However, people who exhibit more signs are likely to have been in the situation longer and are therefore likely to be suffering from major bouts of depression.
If you suspect your loved one is dealing with depression, here’s how to spot the signs:
1. Pay Attention To Appetite Changes
One of the significant signs of depression is a change in a person’s appetite and weight. If your loved one starts to eat a lot of food or minimal amounts of food, they could be experiencing depression. Some people may lose their appetite when their mood is low, while others may turn to food when depressed. With the change in food intake, the person can start to lose or gain weight.
Aside from affecting their self-esteem, sudden weight changes can affect their physiological health and may worsen their depression. For instance, people who have excess fat in their bodies may develop inflammation and it may make their depressive symptoms severe.
2. Monitor Their Sleep Patterns
Another sign that you need to watch out for is sudden changes in your loved ones’ sleep habits. Know that there’s a strong connection between a person’s mood and sleep habits. Lack of sleep is a major contributor to depression, and depressed people find it difficult to sleep—it’s a vicious cycle. And when it becomes a chronic disorder, they may experience neurochemical changes in their brains that might worsen their depression.
However, that doesn’t mean that every depressed person will experience a lack of sleep. Some people sleep too much when they’re depressed. Therefore, if your loved one exhibits irregular sleeping patterns, prepare yourself to help them as they may already be struggling.
3. Check For Signs of Alcohol or Drug Abuse
Depression affects people’s moods and causes them to experience hopelessness, sadness, or loneliness. Mood changes can push them to drug or alcohol abuse as a way of coping with their feelings. If they’re already abusing substances, they may already have mood or anxiety disorders. According to the American Addiction Centers, at least a third of people diagnosed with clinical depression engage in substance abuse.
However, it’s not too late for them. There are treatment plans for them, which can help them stop the addiction and manage their depression.
4. Look At Their Motivation Levels
Depression can cause a person to feel helpless and unmotivated. It causes people to have a grim outlook on their situation. This breeds a feeling of hopelessness because the person feels that things will never improve or get better.
Moreover, depressed people may also loathe themselves. They can develop strong feelings of guilt and worthlessness that cause them to criticize themselves harshly for perceived mistakes or faults.
In most instances, depressed individuals try to mask these symptoms by putting on a happy face when they’re out with other people. While they may succeed in doing that on several occasions, it’s challenging to maintain the facade.
Eventually, their hopelessness, sadness, or loneliness may come to the surface, and it’s up to you to understand what they’re going through.
5. Don’t Ignore Changes In Interests
You can know when your loved one is slipping into depression by paying attention to their concentration levels. If a person has trouble making decisions, focusing, or remembering things, there’s a high chance they’re depressed.
Most people start to lose their train of thought or trail off in conversations due to concentration and memory problems triggered by depression. Difficulties in concentration affect personal relationships and work, which may worsen their condition.
Low or a complete loss of interest in activities and hobbies that a person found pleasurable previously is another common telltale sign of depression. Often, this is among the first signs you’re likely to notice if your loved one is depressed.
6. Keep An Eye On Energy Levels
Another sign to look out for in loved ones that might be depressed is tiredness. Depression is often characterized by an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and low or lack of energy. Fatigue is considered a symptom of debilitating depression. People who exhibit this sign also tend to sleep excessively. Although every person feels tired at one point or another, depressed people experience it persistently.
7. Look Out For Irritability And Physical Pain
Most people don’t associate irritability with depression, yet it’s one of the most common indications of mood changes in people who experience this mental concern. If you notice your loved one is increasingly becoming restless, agitated, short-tempered, or violent, they could be depressed.
Some people become intolerant when they’re depressed. Everything gets on their nerves. In some instances, your loved one won’t feel sad. Instead, he may get irritable and display suppressed anger.
Physical pain is another sign that depressed people suffer from. Although depression is a mental condition, it may also affect a person physically. Besides experiencing tiredness and weight changes, they may also go through headaches, backaches, and digestive problems.
Moreover, people who have a major depressive disorder may likely develop heart disease, arthritis, cancer, autoimmune conditions, and type 2 diabetes.
Everyone feels down at one point in their life. But when a person begins to experience intense emotions such as deep sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness, there’s a high chance they’re depressed and need help.
Depression is a common mental condition that anyone can suffer from. However, its symptoms are often inconspicuous and therefore difficult to spot in most people. If you suspect a loved one may be depressed, be sure to go through the seven signs discussed above. If they exhibit some of them, be sure to see that you can help them have access to the care they need to overcome the condition.