Major depressive disorder or clinical depression can be difficult to identify, as the depression symptoms can be subtle and vary from person to person making it difficult to be detected at the earliest. The World Health Organization reports that about 4% of the world's population is affected by depression yearly. This means that millions of people struggle with a mental illness that could severely damage their lives only because they don't know how to recognize it.
Here I will give you a sound understanding of every possible sign of depression that can help you identify if you or someone you know is struggling with a depressive disorder. First, let me take you through the most common depression symptoms you might be familiar with.
[Note: If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, it is crucial to seek depression treatment at the earliest.
What are the most common depression symptoms and signs?
A diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), like many other psychiatric conditions, is based on the presentation of symptoms. Some common depression symptoms are-
Feeling sad or down most of the time
Feeling low is one of the most common depression symptoms. But again, It is sometimes mistaken as a synonym for depression. Depression is more than just feeling sad; it is a severe health condition that needs attention. Although feeling sad is a normal emotion that we all go through at some point in life. When it lasts longer than two weeks, it can be a sign of depression, which makes it a reason to look out for it.
No more interest in activities you once enjoyed
As mentioned above, feeling low is the first symptom that comes to you when you are hit by depression. When someone feels sad or down, it is widespread to lose interest in the things you once found pleasure doing. Your hobbies, sport, or even going out with friends can feel like a huge deal. In simple terms, you can lose the ability to feel joy.
Changes in weight or appetite
If you are experiencing a depressive episode, you will most likely find a visible fluctuation in your weight and appetite. Loss of interest can eventually lead you to lose your appetite. If you have gained or lost almost 5% of your body weight within one month, there is a high chance that it is a depression symptom. Again dietary plans are an exception. How? You can decide by asking just one question, was the weight loss or weight gain intentional? If yes, you are good to go. If No, then it's time to seek help through depression therapy.
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
One of the reasons why you may quit doing things you enjoy is because depression makes you feel too exhausted. If you are someone who has already experienced a depressive episode, then you probably know what I'm trying to say.
The most debilitating symptom of depression is extreme tiredness, frequently accompanied by a lack of energy. +This could result in oversleeping. Depression is also associated with sleeplessness since one could lead to the other and vice versa. They might worsen one another as well.
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
You may feel worthless or guilty, often about things that wouldn’t usually make you feel that way.
A person suffering from depression may feel useless or as if their life has no significance.
Guilt is a natural reaction when someone says or does something they later regret, but those suffering from depression may experience guilt for no apparent cause. They may expend a great deal of energy on this guilt, feeling horrible about themselves and things they have said or done – even incidents that have long gone. They may also believe that they are an inconvenience to others and that the world or their family would be better off without them.
Thoughts of death or suicide
Suicidal thoughts is the phrase for this. A depressed person may have more thoughts about death and dying. They may also consider suicide and how they might terminate their lives.
These thoughts may be shared with others at times. If someone mentions death or suicide, this could be their way of asking for help, and it is critical to seek aid as soon as possible.
Depression is a common yet dangerous illness that can be fatal. Not everyone who considers suicide will attempt it. However, if someone mentions suicide, it is critical to either contact a doctor or assists the person in seeking immediate medical attention.
If you're reading this and feeling hopeless, remember that you can learn to manage, fight, and prevent depressive episodes with the caring help and knowledge of a mental health professional.
How depression therapy can help you cope with the signs of depression
Depression is more than just a foul mood, and it can't be "snapped out" of. Depression may need long-term therapy. But don't be disheartened. Most people who suffer from depression benefit from therapy and counseling.
Many individuals with depression have symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with daily activities such as jobs, school, social activities, or relationships with others.
If you are depressed, schedule an appointment with your therapist or a mental health expert as soon as possible. If you're hesitant to get treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a healthcare professional, or another person you trust. If you fear you might damage yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Depression is challenging to live with, but numerous effective treatments are available. It is also critical to understand how to spot indicators of depression in ourselves or our loved ones.
Professional therapy for depression can assist people with depression in regaining control of their symptoms and resuming their goals. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, mental health experts recognize your mood experience as unique. Experienced therapists consider the entire person, not simply the diagnosis of depression.
In your initial therapy sessions, your therapist may want to explore the following topics to acquire a better understanding of your situation and how they may assist you:
- Your particular depression symptoms
- Your medical history and that of your family
- Possible sources of your depression
- Factors influencing your psychosocial environment (nutrition and exercise habits)
- Your treatment requirements and objectives
This full therapeutic assessment may only occur at a time, mainly when clients are in extreme distress, but your therapist must collect as much information as possible over time. This might help the therapist develop an effective treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Recovery may entail weekly therapist sessions, monthly follow-up appointments with a psychiatrist, or assistance if episodes repeat. It all comes down to what is best for the person.
What are the effective therapy for major depressive disorder?
There are many techniques that therapists use to help their clients cope with depression symptoms. Numerous types of therapy and treatment are offered to treat depression symptoms and other mood disorders. Psychotherapy can be an experimental depression treatment because it can help you investigate the underlying causes of your depressive symptoms and learn new coping skills.
Here are a few common ones that you might encounter:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a talk therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Your therapist will work with you to identify negative thoughts and replace them with more positive, realistic ones. They will also help you develop coping strategies to manage difficult emotions and situations.
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): MBCT is a type of therapy that combines cognitive-behavioral therapy with mindfulness techniques. Your therapist will teach you how to be present in the moment and observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment. This can help you better understand your own thought patterns and develop more effective coping strategies.
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving relationships with others. Your therapist will help you identify relationship patterns that may be contributing to your depression, and they will work with you to improve your communication and problem-solving skills.
- Psychodynamic therapy: This type of therapy focuses on exploring the unconscious thoughts and emotions contributing to your depression. Your therapist will help you gain insight into your thought patterns and help you develop strategies for managing difficult emotions.
What to expect during a therapy session with a depression therapist or counselor?
If you are considering therapy or counseling for depression, you may wonder what to expect during a typical session. Here are some things you can expect during a therapy session for depression:
- Intake assessment: Your first session will likely involve an intake assessment, where your therapist will ask you questions about your symptoms, medical history, and personal background. This will help your therapist understand your unique situation and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
- Discussing your feelings and experiences: During therapy, you will have the opportunity to talk about your feelings and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Your therapist will listen without judgment and help you productively explore your emotions.
- Developing coping strategies: Your therapist will work with you to develop coping strategies for managing your depression symptoms. This may involve learning new stress management methods, creating a self-care routine, or practicing mindfulness.
- Homework: Your therapist may give you homework assignments to complete between sessions. This may include practicing coping strategies or keeping a journal to track your moods and thoughts.
- Progress evaluation: Over time, your therapist will evaluate your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed. They will also help you set goals and celebrate your accomplishments.
What are the common myths regarding depression and depression symptoms?
Myth#1 Talking about depression worsens it.
Because of the stigma associated with mental health disorders, there is a persistent notion that talking about depression can make it worse.
As a result, many people avoid discussing depression or identifying any symptoms they may be feeling.
Fact: It is not true that discussing depression makes it worse. Persons suffering from depression should try to talk about it, as many will require outside help to begin feeling better.
People suffering from depression should try to talk to someone they trust, such as a nonjudgmental friend, family member, or healthcare professional.
Myth#2. Medication is the most effective treatment.
Some believe antidepressants are the most effective or best way to manage depression. It is also widely held that antidepressants must be used for the rest of a person's life to prevent depression symptoms.
Fact: Antidepressants are not a cure for depression and do not work for everyone or in all circumstances. Doctors typically prescribe antidepressants with psychotherapy and lifestyle changes for depression symptoms.
Myth#3: Getting Help Means Getting Drugs for Life
Despite the talk of a "Prozac Nation," medication is simply one strategy for treating depression. Asking for treatment does not always imply that your doctor will recommend pharmaceuticals, though medications can often be beneficial for severe forms of depression.
Fact: Studies show that "talk" therapy works as well as medicines for mild to moderate depression. Even if you do take antidepressants, it is unlikely to be for the rest of your life. Your doctor will assist you in determining the best time to discontinue your medication.
Myth#4: It Isn't a Real Disease
It is still confused with everyday sadness.
Fact: Depression is a significant medical disorder that is the leading cause of disability in adult Americans. Genetics, hormones, nerve cell receptors, and brain functioning investigations provide biological evidence of the condition. In depression, nerve circuits in brain locations that govern mood appear to work improperly.
Myth#5- Therapy is costly
People feeling the symptoms of depression might think that they can't afford therapy and that it's a useless expense.
Fact: When a person with any mental health issue thinks about getting professional help the first question that hits is how much does therapy cost. Although we are all works in progress and may require the assistance of a therapist at times, treatment is usually not indefinite. If you're seeing improvement and making the changes you want, you should earn your money's worth. Of course, many people also seek short-term therapy for financial reasons. You should check with your medical insurance about the expense coverage and can also opt for group therapy or community therapy in case.
Myth #6: Being depressed makes you weak
Fact- Depression does not choose its victims depending on who is strong or weak, and those who develop it have no control in the issue. People suffering from depression are sometimes mischaracterized as sluggish, self-pitying, or weak. Nothing is further from the truth. Depression patients are constantly at odds with their brain chemistry, which saps their vitality. It has nothing to do with their strength or character.
Myth #7: Depression is all in a person's head
Fact: Depression is not a made-up condition nor restricted to the intellect. The symptoms are real and frequently materialize physically. Among the physical manifestations of depression are:
- Insomnia and exhaustion
- Back and neck ache
- Aches in the muscles and joints
- Chest ache
- Sexual impotence
- Digestive problems
- Changes in appetite
- Weight fluctuations
Myth #8: Depression isn't such a huge deal
Fact: Mental health diseases are just as serious as physical illnesses. Depression can lead to substance misuse, loss of enjoyment in life, social withdrawal, severe weight gain or loss, and even suicidal thoughts – all of which can prevent a person from working, caring for a family, or fulfilling other responsibilities. If you know someone suffering from depression who isn't receiving therapy, you may need to step in for their sake.
Myth #9: Depression is a natural part of life
Fact: Depression is a frequent and widespread mental health disease, but you don't have to live with it. Some individuals believe that depression is a normal component of aging. It isn't, and you don't have to live with it indefinitely. Consult your doctor about methods to avoid depression. They will direct you to the treatments best suited to your problem.
Myth #10: Depression is synonymous with sadness
Fact: Sadness and depression are not synonymous. If you suspect you are clinically depressed, there are various techniques to tell the difference between that and being sad:
- Feelings' duration: If you're down over something specific, you'll probably feel better in a few days to a few weeks. Depression, however, can last for years if not treated.
- Symptoms that are associated with other conditions: Clinically depressed people aren't merely sad. They're also unmotivated, tired, sad, empty, nervous, suicidal, and uninterested in activities that used to bring them delight. These sentiments can result in the emergence of a secondary ailment, such as generalized anxiety disorder.
- Resolution: Sadness can resolve itself over time with the aid of loved ones, but depression seldom resolves itself without professional attention. To begin feeling better, a patient requires treatment, medicine, support, or a mix.
Let’s take a step together
No matter which type of therapy your therapist uses, the most important thing is finding a therapist you feel comfortable talking to and who can help you develop effective coping strategies for managing your depression symptoms.
Don't be afraid to try different therapists or types of therapy until you find the one that works best for you. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. With the right help and support, you can learn to manage your depression symptoms and improve your quality of life.