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Everyone feels down from time to time. But how do you know if “feeling down” is actually depression? Here are some guidelines for recognizing the symptoms of depression in yourself, a friend, family member or other loved one.

Depression is categorized by a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable. People experiencing depression may express negative thoughts about themselves, the world around them, or the future. Often these negative thoughts can be so overwhelming that it can be hard to find joy or hope in life.

How Can I Tell If I Have Depression?

what depression feels likeThere is no one single sign that confirms someone is experiencing depression. Rather, it is an accumulation of symptoms and behaviors that indicate you or someone close to you is struggling with depression. Here are 10 indicators that someone may be dealing with depression:

10 Warning Signs of Depression

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite or weight, such as significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or oversleeping
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach problems, that don’t have a clear medical cause
  • Irritability or restlessness

This is not an exhaustive list and it’s important to note that not everyone experiences depression in the same way. Someone with only one or two symptoms from the list above may be just as depressed as someone with more symptoms. The severity and frequency of symptoms will also vary from person to person. That’s why if you suspect that you or someone you know is dealing with depression, it’s best to seek help from a qualified mental health provider in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

How can I tell if my friend has depression?

Recognizing depression in friends or family members can be extra challenging, as not everyone experiences depression in the same way. And while you may be able to evaluate your own thoughts and feelings, it’s much harder to know someone else’s inner thoughts. It is difficult to determine if someone you care about is having difficulty concentrating, is feeling hopeless, or is having thoughts of suicide unless they share that with you.

However, here are some external signs that may indicate a friend or loved one is experiencing depression:

Withdrawing from social activities
Depression causes people to self-isolate. If your friend is avoiding social situations that they used to enjoy, or if they are canceling plans frequently, this may be a sign of depression.

Expressing negative feelings
If your friend frequently talks about feeling sad, hopeless, or worthless, this could be an indication of depression, particularly if it is unusual and out of character for your friend.

Changes in behavior
If your friend has a significant change in their behavior or personality, such as becoming more irritable or agitated, this could be a sign your friend is struggling with depression.

Changes in sleeping or eating habits
While admittedly it may be difficult to know the sleeping habits of a friend (unless you are also roommates), if your friend is struggling to get out of bed to attend school or work, that could be a sign of depression. Also, if your friend is skipping social activities because they can’t seem to get out of bed, that is also an indicator of depression.

Lack of energy
If your friend complains of feeling tired or has a noticeable lack of energy, this could indicate depression. This could manifest as an inability to attend school, do homework, get to work on time (or at all!), or not having the energy to spend time with friends and family.

Talking about death or suicide
If your friend talks about death or suicide, even in a joking manner, this is a serious sign that they may be in danger and need professional help quickly. Do not ignore or minimize this warning sign, even if your friend claims to be joking.

While these signs are a good indicator that a friend or loved one may be struggling with depression, only a mental health provider is qualified to issue a diagnosis. If you are concerned about a friend, encouraging them — and even helping them – to make an appointment to see a psychiatrist is a great way to assist them.

Even if you recognize one or more of these symptoms in yourself or a friend and think you might have depression, it could be due to other causes. Depression can sometimes be confused with other conditions because its symptoms overlap with other mental health disorders and physical health conditions. For example, symptoms of depression such as fatigue, low energy, and poor concentration are also symptoms of ailments such as chronic fatigue syndrome or hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of depression, such as irritability and difficulty sleeping, are also indicative of anxiety disorders and other physical and mental health conditions. That’s why it is important to see a mental health provider for a conclusive diagnosis.

When Should I See a Psychiatrist?

People often wonder if their depressive symptoms are “bad enough” to need medical attention. If at anytime you, a friend, or loved one is dealing with thoughts of self-harm, seek care immediately from a psychiatrist, qualified mental health professional, primary care doctor, or emergency department at a hospital.

Otherwise, if your symptoms persist for more than two weeks and are affecting your ability to function in your daily life, you should consider seeking professional help. A mental health professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as therapy, antidepressant medication, ketamine, TMS, or a combination of these treatment options.

It is far better to seek treatment too early rather than too late. Depression can be effectively treated, and early intervention improves the chances of recovery. Providers at Ampelis Health have the latest treatment options at their disposal, with a wealth of clinical experience to assist them in finding the right treatment option that will work for you.

Help for Depression in Utah

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life and day-to-day function. If you recognized the above symptoms in yourself, a friend, or loved one, call us today to receive an accurate diagnosis, and find the help and hope you need to recover. Call Ampelis Health today at 435-776-5909.

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