How to Spot the Early Signs of Depression

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Depression is a complicated illness. It can have an impact on many facets of a person’s life, including their physical health and interpersonal connections. It naturally has an effect on mental health as well.

But sadness and unhappiness are not the same thing. The word “depression” is frequently used indiscriminately to characterise how individuals feel following a difficult workweek or upon a breakup. Major depressive disorder, another name for clinical depression, is more than just a depressed mood. Specific symptoms set depression apart from the kind of all-around melancholy that everyone encounters occasionally.

Non-White people are more likely to be under or misdiagnosed with depression, and their symptoms tend to be more widespread, severe, and incapacitating. Many people with the illness do not receive treatment, and as they age, their symptoms worsen.

Based on available data, those who identify as American Indian, Native American, or Alaska Native are more likely to have mental health issues, such as depression. Compared to those in other groups, members of this group have much higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, and they are also more prone to suffer from drug use problems. The second most common cause of mortality for young individuals in this age group (ages 8 to 24) is suicide.

The first step to rehabilitation and healing may be figuring out if lingering negative emotions are caused by depression. When it’s time to see a mental health expert, look for these indicators.

1. Hopelessness

Though not all racial and ethnic groups suffer pessimism in the same way, sad people frequently do.

According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, persons of two or more races are the next most likely to report feeling hopeless “all or most of the time,” behind Hispanic and Latino adults.

A prevalent feeling among persons of two or more races, American Indians, and Alaska Natives, as well as those who are unhappy occasionally is that they are worthless.

Inappropriate guilt is another thing that some individuals who are depressed deal with. They could frequently ask themselves, “What’s the point?” or “It’s all my fault.”

More than a million people who self-screened for depression and anxiety on Mental Health America’s website in 2020 stated that loneliness and isolation are among the top three reasons people perceive themselves as having poor mental health. It has been identified as the primary source of mental health problems among Hispanic/Latinx individuals.

2. Loss of interest

Depression has the power to sap people’s joy and satisfaction from the things they love. Major depression is often indicated by a lack of interest in or withdrawal from formerly enjoyed activities, such as sports, hobbies, or going out with friends. A staggering 90% of individuals who identified as belonging to several racial groups reported having depressive symptoms to Mental Health America in 2020.

Black and Hispanic persons were 1.5–2 times more likely than White people to feel depressed and lose interest in daily living, according to a different study including 25,503 older Americans.

Sex-related disinterest is widespread. Impotence and a diminished desire for sex are signs of serious depression.

3. Increasing exhaustion and difficulty sleeping

People who are depressed may cease doing things they like in part because they are really weary. One of the most crippling symptoms of depression can be an overpowering sense of exhaustion and a lack of energy. This may result in oversleeping.

People from the Asian and Pacific Islands, especially those in older age groups, are more likely to report feeling drowsy or exhausted than depressed, as depression is sometimes viewed as less socially acceptable. Because these symptoms might be mistaken for other illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, medical providers could overlook the actual reason.

Insomnia and depression are related, and they can reinforce one another. A lack of sound sleep might result in anxiety

4. Anxiety

Anxiety and depression frequently coexist. Its symptoms might include:

  • sensation of strain, uneasiness, or restlessness
  • sensations of dread, fear, or danger
  • elevated heart rate
  • fast respiration
  • increased or profuse perspiration
  • trembling or spasming of the muscles
  • difficulty paying attention to or thinking coherently about anything but one main concern

In Mental Health America’s 2020 screenings, those who identify as Native Americans or American Indians were most likely to report having significant levels of anxiety. After 2019, there was a notable rise in their rate of moderate to severe depression as well.

5. Irritability

Depression can impact men and women in distinct ways. Studies reveal that males who suffer from depression may also exhibit irritation, hazardous or escapist behaviour, substance addiction, or misdirected rage.

In general, males are less likely than women to identify depression or pursue therapy. According to a 2018 study, they are more likely to seek assistance when their symptoms are similar to those of “traditional” depression, but they might not recognise their anger or other intense emotions as conditions that call for medical attention.

As to the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, women are about twice as likely as men to take antidepressant medication, and those beyond 60 are the most regular users. Antidepressant use is also significantly more common among White people than among Black, Asian, or Hispanic persons.

6. Changes in appetite and weight

Eating and weight fluctuations are common among depressed individuals. Everybody may have a different experience with this. While some people won’t feel hungry and will lose weight, others will gain weight due to increased hunger.

Whether or if dietary modifications are deliberate is one way to tell if they are connected to depression. If they’re not, depression could be the root problem.

For more health-related content, check our healthy and fitness section here.

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