Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Can You Tell If Someone Has Depression

Whats The Difference Between Normal Grief After A Loss And Mdd

How To Tell If You’re Depressed

When you experience a loss of someone close to you, its normal to grieve and feel down and empty for a period of several weeks or more, but it should get better, says Dr. Murrough. If youre starting to feel worse instead of better as time goes on, thats a red flag. Perhaps, more critically, a typical grief reaction isnt: My life is not worth living anymore. Consider seeking treatment if you or someone experiences this.

Get The Help You Need

While its helpful to know how clinical depression is diagnosed, dont hesitate to see your doctor if youre feeling bad but dont meet the above criteria. Some people experience depression differently.

Depression in men, for instance, can often manifest as feelings of aggression or anger. Some people try to self-medicate and end up with a substance abuse problem without knowing the underlying issue is clinical depression. People with psychotic depression suffer from hallucinations or delusions.

Another possibility is that you feel bad not because of depression but because of an underlying medical condition that you arent aware of, such as a vitamin deficiency or hormone imbalance. Even heart disease and dementia have been linked with symptoms of depression. All this points to the importance of seeing your doctor if youre not feeling like yourself for more than a few days at a time.

For further reading, see these University Health News posts:

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

Here are some common signs of depression you may experience.

How you might feel

  • guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • empty and numb
  • isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
  • a sense of unreality
  • avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
  • self-harming or suicidal behaviour
  • difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
  • losing interest in sex
  • difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
  • using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • feeling tired all the time
  • no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
  • physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated.

“It felt like I was really tired, all the time. I had no energy or emotion about anything.”

Also Check: What To Do If I Have Anxiety And Depression

Taking Care Of Yourself

Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.

Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.

Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.

Depression: How To Spot The Signs And Offer Support

signs of depression?

Depression is often used to describe someone having a bad day, or experiencing short-term low mood. But its much more than that. Here, well take a look at the emotional, mental, and physical signs of depression so that you know what to look out for.

1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem every year. Even if you’re experiencing good mental health, you may know or be supporting someone affected by a mental health condition.

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects people of all ages. But some of us are more susceptible than others.

Studies show that people who are less well off, have long-term or chronic illnesses, and people who are out of work are more likely to have depression.

So what is depression? Too often, people say they’re depressed when they feel fed up, or when things in their lives aren’t going as well as theyd like them to. And equally often, after a few days, these feelings disappear.

Medically speaking, depression is when how you feel starts to make your life more difficult. Your low mood, or feelings of emptiness/disconnection, last more than a few weeks, or keep coming back.

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They Have Noticeable Weight Gain Or Loss

When someone is struggling with depression, they may turn to food for comfort. Being overweight can worsen the severity of depression. Other individuals struggling with depression may lose their appetite, unable to keep anything down. Dramatic weight gain or loss is often a sign someone is depressed. If you notice your friend or family member shows surprising eating habits that make them lose or gain weight, ask them about it.

When Good Intentions Go Wrong

It’s possible that you can say all the “right” things and your friend will still become upset with you. Every person is an individual with unique thoughts and feelings, and being angry and upset is the nature of depression.

Sometimes people will lash out at those trying to help them because they are hurting and don’t know where to direct those bad feelings. Whoever is nearby becomes a convenient target.

If this happens, try not to take it personally. Stay calm and continue to do what you can to love and support your friend in whatever way they will allow.

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Signs That Someone May Be Depressed

Depression has lots of possible symptoms. You may notice that someone:

  • has lost interest in doing things they normally enjoy
  • seems to be feeling down or hopeless
  • has slower speech and movements or is more fidgety and restless than usual
  • feels tired or doesnt have much energy
  • is overeating or has lost their appetite
  • is sleeping more than usual or isnt able to sleep
  • has trouble concentrating on everyday things, such as watching the television or reading the paper

See some more symptoms of depression.

What Treatment Should I Be Offered

How Do You Know If You Have Depression?

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.

Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.

NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.

Step 1: Everyone who may have depression

Your doctor should offer you:

  • an assessment of your symptoms,
  • support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
  • information on how to deal with your symptoms,
  • monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
  • referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.

Step 2: Mild to moderate depression

Your doctor may offer you:

  • low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
  • physical activity programmes,
  • group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
  • medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
  • referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.

Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked

Your doctor may suggest:

Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:

  • medication,

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Where Can I Find Clinical Trials For Depression

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so others may receive better help in the future.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials information.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
  • Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

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How Can I Help A Loved One Who Is Depressed

If someone you know has depression, help them see a health care provider or mental health professional. You also can:

  • Offer support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
  • Invite them out for walks, outings, and other activities.
  • Help them stick to their treatment plan, such as setting reminders to take prescribed medications.
  • Make sure they have transportation to therapy appointments.
  • Remind them that, with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

Take comments about suicide seriously, and report them to your loved ones health care provider or therapist. If they are in immediate distress or thinking about hurting themselves, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

They Talk A Lot About The Meaning Of Life

Sadness or Clinical Depression? How to Tell The Difference

Individuals struggling with depression are aware of their mortality. They become consumed with the meaning of life. They may research different religions, with their mindset flipping from one idea to another. You may think theyre becoming interested in something, but its more of an obsession for them as they try to understand the purpose of their life. Theyll talk a lot about death and dying so that youll become fearful theyre thinking about suicide. Never ignore their morbid thoughts, but pay attention to what theyre saying. If they express suicidal thoughts, dont delay. Get them help right away.

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Causes And Risk Factors

While some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward, depression is far more complicated. Certain medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and specific blood pressure medicine can trigger symptoms in some peopleas can hypothyroidism . But most commonly, depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors that can vary wildly from one person to another.

Despite what you may have seen in TV ads, read in newspaper articles, or maybe even heard from a doctor, depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, having too much or too little of any brain chemical that can be simply cured with medication. Biological factors can certainly play a role in depression, including inflammation, hormonal changes, immune system suppression, abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain, nutritional deficiencies, and shrinking brain cells. But psychological and social factorssuch as past trauma, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, and lifestyle choicescan also play an enormous part.

Urge Them To Talk With A Doctor

Depression treatments are a very important part of recovering from depression, but people often feel ashamed of their condition or pessimistic about whether treatment will really help.

If your friend has not yet seen a doctor, encourage them to seek help and reassure them that there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance. Depression is a realand treatableillness.

If your friend is already seeing a doctor, offer to help with picking up medications and being on time for appointments.

Also Check: How To Stop Oversleeping Due To Depression

What Can You Do If You Have Hidden Depression

People with hidden depression should discuss their situation with their doctor or mental health specialist. While there isnt a specific depression test to learn if you have depression, your doctor may ask questions about your symptoms and ask about your health history. There are other things you can do to treat your symptoms.

Learn effective methods for reducing stress, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Learn ways to boost your self-esteem. Try to engage in light social conversations with others. Try getting reacquainted with a hobby or activity you used to enjoy or consider trying something new. Engage in regular exercise. Look for ways to improve your diet. Ask a family member or friend for moral support or join a local support group. Take advantage of online therapy options to help you explore your thoughts and feelings.

Can You Help Someone You Suspect Has Hidden Depression?

If you think a family member or loved is showing signs, encourage them to talk about their feelings with someone. Offer to listen to them and give advice without judgment. Encourage them to learn about treatment options. Offer moral support when they attend appointments. Engage in productive activities like exercise and socializing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?
  • Lack of energy

How Is Depression Diagnosed

Can a Depressed Person Have Good Days? – Atypical Depression

For a diagnosis of depression to be confirmed, a doctor will assess your state of mind and look for specific symptoms. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition criteria, which is used to diagnose depression, doctors must look for two core symptoms:

  • During the last month have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • Do you have little interest or pleasure in doing things?

Doctors making the assessment will look to see if one, or both, of these symptoms have been present for at least two weeks.

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How Can I Take Care Of Myself

Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:

  • Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
  • Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
  • Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
  • Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
  • Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.

If Youre Experiencing Symptoms

  • Recognize if youre starting to slip. If you are struggling with new or worsening symptoms, dont hesitate to seek help. If you already have a therapist, reach out to them right away. If you do not have one, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP for a free, confidential referral for treatment. If youre considering harming yourself, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 .
  • Ignore incorrect attitudes. The old idea of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is not only outdated, but also not based in science. If you feel depressed, there is no cause for guilt, says Dr. Solomon.

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How You Can Support A Loved One Feeling Depressed

If several of the above signs apply to someone you know, they may well have depression.

They may not have spoken to anybody about their concerns, or even realise thats what theyre experiencing, so try to encourage them to open up and talk about how they feel.

Be careful how you approach the subject. Statements such as, cheer up or pull yourself together arent helpful and can make people defensive.

Instead, focus on listening. You may not feel qualified to offer any advice, and thats ok. Its not about finding solutions to everything theyre feeling its about reminding them that theyre not alone and youre there to support them.

It can be difficult for someone suffering from depression to communicate. So do your best to encourage them to talk and listen without judgment.

Just listening in a non-judgmental way, and allowing them to articulate their feelings, can be invaluable.

They Make Silent Cries For Help

Depression Awareness Week â infographic

Sometimes, when individuals hide depression, they will make silent cries for help. These cries may go unnoticed by most people, but if youre wise to the person, youll hear their cry and reach out to them. They may try to put you off or hide their negative thoughts. Trust your gut if youre close to this person and feel like something is off. Some examples of silent cries for help a depressed person makes include the following behaviors:

  • Does poorly at work or school
  • Loses interest in hobbies, sports, or other activities theyve always enjoyed
  • Sudden changes in lifestyle such as sleeping or eating
  • Avoidance of friends and family members.
  • Isolated, wants to be alone all the time.
  • Daydreams all the time so that they cant do anything else
  • It feels like life is overwhelming.

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