Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a serious mood disorder that affects how you feel and think, and it can lead to a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional issues.
Depression affects many different people in many different ways. For some, depression is a constant struggle. Others experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter when it is cloudy. Also, mothers who have just given birth may experience postpartum depression.
Whatever the reason for depression, it can easily go undetected by the person experiencing the disorder as well as those around them. If you think that someone you love has depression, keep an eye out for the following symptoms to make sure he or she gets the treatment they need.
Disinterest in activities that used to bring joy or disinterest in normal everyday activities could be a sign of depression.
Perhaps your loved one is taking more sick days from work or school. Or maybe they aren’t as interested in hanging out with friends and participating in other activities.
Try not to take it personally if your loved one has less interest in life. They could be going through something and may need your help to overcome it. Keep reaching out and make sure your loved one knows how important they are to you.
Sleep is another aspect of life that depression can affect. Depression can make it harder to fall asleep, leaving your loved one tossing and turning all night. But depression can also make them very tired and sluggish.
If your loved one starts sleeping more — like sleeping in late and taking naps during the day — they could be struggling with depression. They could also have depression if they start staying up late and sleeping less. In either case, talk to your loved one to make sure everything in their life is OK.
Depression also changes people’s eating habits. Some people with depression lose their appetite and sometimes even forget to eat. Others may start eating much more and start rapidly gaining weight.
If you notice changes in your loved one’s eating habits, try to express your concern in a productive way. You don’t want to make your loved one feel worse than they already do.
Depression also affects mood. It can make you more irritable and annoyed with those around you, and it can also make it harder to control your emotions. If your loved one starts having issues with anger, irritability, and other overwhelming emotions, then they are likely struggling with depression.
Instead of taking these outbursts personally, have kindness and compassion on your loved one and make sure they see a doctor who can help them diagnose their disorder.
People who suffer from depression may feel its physical toll. If your loved one feels sick for no reason or feels physical aches and pains, the underlying cause may be depression rather than a physical illness or injury.
If the doctor gives your loved one a clean bill of health, you might want to consider speaking with a psychiatrist who can evaluate their mental health. If your loved one doesn’t want to see a doctor, don’t give up on them. Continue to love and support them so that they don’t feel isolated.
Depression is a serious mental illness that can be fatal when left untreated. Sometimes, people need help recognizing their own symptoms, so if you see these signs in a friend or family member, encourage them to get help, either by scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist or looking for community support.
For more information on how to help your loved one with depression or another mental illness, contact us at Serenity Mental Health Centers to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist as soon as possible.