Everyone feels down from time to time. If you feel unhappy for more than a couple of weeks, though, you could be suffering from depression. How do you know if you have depression or just a case of the blues? Here are five signs you may need help.
- You’re feeling overwhelmed or hopeless. If feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despair, emptiness, or helplessness seem to be taking over your life, you may be suffering from depression. You might also experience feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt. At first, you may try to power through and act happy, but hiding your feelings can become difficult after a week or two. As time goes by, these feelings can become so overwhelming that you may not be able to fulfill your daily responsibilities. Your job performance might drop, or you may need to take time off of work or be unable to take care of your family. Your outlook may become bleak, and you might think that there’s nothing you can do to make things better.
- You’re tired all the time. Depression is linked to fatigue and insomnia: experts report that over 90 percent of people with depression feel drained or fatigued. Insomnia makes fatigue worse, and it becomes a cycle that can make it difficult to even get out of bed. Even the ordinary tasks of everyday life may seem insurmountable. Low energy can put you into a “brain fog”, in which you can’t concentrate, focus, or make decisions. You may also feel unexplained aches and pains, like headaches, stomach pain, back pain, or aching muscles.
- You’re not interested in the things you used to enjoy. You may find that your hobbies don’t interest you, and you don’t feel like getting together with friends. You may avoid your normal pastimes and even sex, feeling like you’ve lost your ability to feel joy or pleasure. Fatigue can play into this, leading you to change your daily habits, which can have a negative impact on your health. You might not eat as well as you normally would or feel too tired to exercise. The changes in your attitudes and health may not seem like anything major, because they can occur gradually. If you notice significant weight gain or loss, or problems with your health, talk to your healthcare provider.
- You can’t seem to manage your emotions. Depression can cause agitation and restlessness, along with a short temper and low tolerance. You might feel like everyone is getting on your nerves, and you may even have violent urges. Some people have severe mood swings, going from uncontrollable weeping to outbursts of anger. These significant emotional changes can lead to reckless, escapist behavior, including substance abuse, compulsive gambling, or dangerous activities and reckless driving. Depression doesn’t cause anxiety, but anxiety and depression often occur together.
- You’re thinking a lot about death. The hopeless feelings of depression can make a person feel like the only way out is death. Unfortunately, nearly 50,000 people in the United States die from suicide each year. If you are contemplating suicide, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
The response to depression can vary based on gender and age. Men don’t often acknowledge feeling hopeless or experiencing self-loathing. They’re more likely to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep trouble, or loss of interest in work or hobbies. Men also tend to experience anger, aggression, reckless behavior, and substance abuse. Women typically have symptoms like feelings of guilt, excessive sleeping, overeating, and weight gain. Hormonal factors can impact depression in women. Postpartum depression, for instance, affects about one in seven women after childbirth. Depressed teens often exhibit irritability, anger, and agitation, and may complain of headaches, stomach aches, and other pain. Older adults with depression also complain of physical symptoms rather than emotional. They often experience fatigue, aches and pains, and memory problems, and might neglect their physical appearance or stop taking important medications.
If you’re struggling with depression, here are some things to try.
- Reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support.
- Get some exercise.
- Eat mood-boosting foods, limiting caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar, and refined carbs.
- Find a way to engage with the world around you.
- Seek professional help.
If you need help for depression, contact BrainsWay. A global medical technology company, we’re focused on developing cutting edge medical devices to advance the level of treatment offered to patients. BrainsWay’s advanced flagship technology, Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS™) is expanding mental health treatment beyond what was thought possible. Non-invasive Deep TMS treatment directly stimulates deeper and broader areas of the brain, and it’s been proven effective in treating conditions like depression and OCD. Contact us to learn how we’re changing the field of mental healthcare, or visit our website to find a provider near you.
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