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How to recognise depression

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How to Recognise Depression

Depression is not like an infection that appears rapidly with very visible symptoms.  It is a progressive mental illness that builds up over time.  Its lack of outward physical symptoms can make it very difficult to diagnose, and many sufferers will ignore feelings the internal symptoms out of stoicism, or fear.How to recognise depression is difficult as it has a habit of creeping up without you even realising you have a problem.

What is Depression

Depression is a characterised by a general feeling of overarching sadness, despair and discouragement.  If you experiencing such feelings regularly over a sustained period of several weeks or more, then you may be suffering from depression.  Here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Feeling numb, hopeless and very sad – for much of the day, most days
  • Feeling guilty or worthless – we all experience this from time to time, but in depression these emotions spiral out of proportion with the situations they relate to
  • Feeling irritable or anxious – anxiety is closely linked to depression, and is described as a general feeling of unease or distress, which at its worst can result in a panic attack
  • Difficulty making decisions – depression clouds your judgement, making it difficult to think clearly, so even the simplest of decisions can feel overwhelming
  • Loss of interest in things that used to bring you pleasure – hobbies, sex, friends, can all fall by the wayside when you are depressed, you may have no impetus or energy to engage with others, and can become quite insular
  • Thoughts of suicide – at its most extreme depression can drive sufferers to feel that their life is worthless and some follow through by hurting themselves or attempting suicide.  If you or anyone you know appears to be at such a level of distress it is important to seek help

Depression can be successfully treated in a variety of ways, but only if the symptoms are noticed and acted upon.

how to recognise depression

Causes of Depression

There is no single cause of depression, it results from a mix of different things, but if you are feeling depressed it may help you to make sense out of your emotions if you consider how some of the common causes may apply to you:

  • Genetics and Biology – depression changes the way in which the brain works, and we cannot always control the chemical signals the brain receives.  Studies have shown that genetics can play a part
  • Age and Gender – women are twice as likely as men to become depressed, with the elderly being particularly at risk
  • Grief and Trauma – loss can be overwhelming, and the sadness that grief brings can lead to depression in some people.  Trauma from violence, accidents, or physical and emotional abuse are also known triggers
  • Health conditions – terminal and chronic diseases and medical conditions often lead to depression
  • Certain medications, drugs and alcohol – are all known to have depression as potential side effects of use

What is apparent from this list, which is by no means exhaustive, is that depression is often the by-product of circumstance.  In some cases it may be possible to modify your situation as a way of lifting you out of depression, especially if your symptoms are not yet that severe.  Being proactive when you can is a great motivator, but in many cases is not possible.  In these situations contacting your GP or one of the many depression support organisations will put you on the road to recovery.

Just remember, it is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer from depression at some point in their life.  You are not alone.

 

 

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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