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The 5 Warning Signs of Depression Everyone Should Know About

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For a variety of reasons, the majority of individuals who live with a major depressive disorder do nothing to obtain relief from their symptoms. One reason is that these individuals may not be aware of treatment options or may not have access to treatment options in their area. Another reason is that these individuals have limited or no support from friends and family, or they could be unaware that their symptoms point to more than passing sadness.

Data compiled by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2016 showed that an average of 16.2 million adults in the U.S. deal with major depressive disorder. That number makes up around 6.7% of all U.S. adults.

However, only about 44% of adults with major depressive disorder received care by visiting a healthcare professional or by taking prescription medication. Only about 7% of U.S. adults with major depressive disorder received medication-only treatments. An estimated 37% of U.S. adults with major depressive disorder did not receive the right amount of support and the treatment they needed to feel better.

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting the United States. For some people who live with the disorder day-to-day, it can interfere with their everyday lives and impact their ability to carry out basic activities.

Major depressive disorder is when a person experiences a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed for a period of two weeks or longer. A person with major depressive disorder remains depressed for this period and has at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of appetite or other eating issues
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of concentration
  • Problems with self-image or confidence
  • Ongoing thoughts of death or suicide

While having only one or two of these symptoms may not be a cause for alarm, if you or someone you know suffers from four or more of these symptoms regularly, you should consider seeking help from a professional.

The Different Types of Depression

Many people are unaware that there is more than one type of depression. Types of depression can fall into two different categories: dysthymia and major depressive disorder. Because there are so many forms of depression, a depressed individual should speak with a health professional to better understand their symptoms. The health professional can help select an appropriate treatment. Below are a few details on some of the different types of depression.

Bipolar I and II Disorders

Bipolar disorders can cause individuals to suffer from mood swings, which range from hypomania or mania to major depression. Trained health professionals can sometimes struggle to tell the difference between bipolar depression and major depressive disorder since most people do not visit their doctors when they experience a hypomanic mood. Affected individuals often only seek treatment when they experience a depressed mood.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder can be very similar to bipolar I and II disorders, but it involves much milder high and low moods.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is a type of depression that occurs long-term and is often less severe than other types of depression. However, this mild case of depression may become chronic if a person continues to experience symptoms without receiving treatment.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Hormonal changes that occur in females between three to seven days before their menstrual period begins can cause premenstrual dysphoric disorder. After their period has passed, the depression usually goes away. It is essential to keep in mind that prescription medication, underlying medical conditions, and recreational drugs can also cause feelings of depression.

Five Warning Signs of Depression Everyone Should Know About

If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, there are a few signs that can help validate your claims. Below, we detail five warning signs of depression.

1. Unexplained Pain

Depression does not simply affect a person’s mental health. It can also have a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being. For example, common warning signs of depression are the physical symptoms of unexplained aches and pains.

Arecent study on symptoms of depression showed that 69% of people who met the criteria for a depression diagnosis first visited their doctor for unexplained aches and pains. The most common complaints included joint pain, bloating, and backaches.

2. Inability to Concentrate

Almost everyone experiences some brain fog and forgetfulness. However, those who live with depression day-to-day often experience an extreme lack of focus. The lack of focus is often so bad that the person becomes unable to perform their everyday duties at work and at home. There may be periods where the person makes more mistakes than usual or has trouble making decisions.

3. Too Much or Too Little Sleep

Another warning sign of depression is not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, do not cause depression, but they can play a significant role in mood fluctuations and instability.

4. Change in Appetite

Depression can have a major impact on a person’s appetite. For some people, depression can cause them to eat more, while for other people, depression may cause a significant decrease in their appetite. Regardless of how depression affects a person’s appetite, a change in appetite is a symptom that can have a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being. Even if someone manages to lose weight during a period of depression, this occurrence is not a healthy form of weight loss.

5. Moodiness and Irritability

Just because someone has a snappy attitude does not mean that they are depressed. However, heightened or unexplained irritability is another sign of possible depression. If little things set off a person or they get agitated more often than usual, the person may suffer from depression.

A person’s moodiness and irritability can lead to thoughts of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or the desire to cause harm to another person. If a person experiences any of those feelings, they should get immediate help from a health professional. If a person is in immediate danger, one should always call 911. 

Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital Helps Those Living with Depression

At Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we specialize in treating depression and other mood disorders. We offer inpatient treatment programs and intensive outpatient treatment programs, too. To get started at our facility, please call us at (877) 755-4907 to speak with one of our intake specialists.