Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Jun 27th, 2018

Depression can often be misidentified as a bad case of the blues. But it is more than just feeling down, and not something to just “snap out of”. Depression is a serious mental health issue affecting nearly 3.3 million Americans.

Yet many cases go undiagnosed due to stigma surrounding the illness or downplaying the severity of the problem. Proper diagnosis and treatment is critical to encourage healing and promote wellness.

To help recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in adults, our Oceans experts address some of the most common questions about the disease.

This content is designed to provide education about depression and is not meant to diagnose or treat a disease. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing a medical issue, including depression, contact a physician for help.

Q: What are common symptoms?

A: Understanding when certain behaviors indicate depression and recognizing the signs and symptoms early can help individuals receive treatment sooner and promote healing. Some of the most common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness or anxiety
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Changes in sleep, such as insomnia or oversleeping
  • Lack of energy or consistent tiredness
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Unexplained aches or pains
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death, suicide or self-harm

Q: Are symptoms different in men and women?

A: Though symptoms can vary by person, both men and women can experience similar symptoms of depression. However, more women are diagnosed with depression, which is likely due to women seeking treatment more often.

Q: Can depression lead to other medical problems?

A: Yes, if left untreated depression can cause additional health complications, such as:

  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Heart disease or diabetes as a result of weight gain
  • Pain or physical illness
  • Substance use and abuse
  • Anxiety or panic disorders
  • Self-mutilation

Some of these more serious complications can lead to early death.

Q: What are the risk factors for developing depression?

A: Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s, though it can occur at any age. Many factors, both biological and environmental, can play a role in developing depression, including:

Certain personality traits, including low self-esteem and high self-criticism, or being LGBTQ in an unsupportive situation have been known to contribute to depression. Likewise, experiencing trauma or highly-stressful situations or abusing drugs or alcohol can also trigger depression.

Personal or family history of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or alcoholism are also risk factors for developing depression. Sometimes, serious chronic illness, including cancer, chronic pain or heart disease, can bring on depression as well.

Q: Is depression a side effect of another problem?

A: Depression can occur alongside and/or worsen other serious illnesses, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia or Parkinson’s disease. Some medications taken for these illnesses can cause side effects which contribute to depression.

Q: Is depression treatable?

A: Though less than 36 percent of those who suffer from depression receive treatment, the illness can be treated. Early identification and diagnosis is important for promoting proper healing and ensuring long-term recovery.

Q: What treatment options are available?

A: Depression may be treated with medication, therapy or counseling or other methods as deemed appropriate by a physician.

At Oceans Healthcare, we understand the challenges of managing depression for individuals and their families and caregivers. We focus on providing treatment for all aspects of depression and other mental and behavioral health diseases. Our outpatient treatment programs offer a safe, compassionate environment for patients at every stage of the healing process. As a recognized leader in behavioral health, we are committed to caring for patients and their families with dignity, honesty and compassion.

If you think you or someone you know may need treatment for depression, request a call from one of our specialists today.

 

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