Depression affects at least 350 million people worldwide according to various reports including the World Health Organization (WHO). There could be much more due to many unreported cases and a lack of awareness is partly to blame for this. There’s a fine line between being in a down mood and depression.
5 signs of depression:
1. Fatigue and general lack of enthusiasm even for what you enjoy
When you’re depressed, there is a general sense of displeasure with everything in life. The things you once enjoyed doing won’t have that same sense of excitement or thrill. This is fatigue and is linked with depression according to the American Psychiatric Institute’s report. You’re so exhausted mentally. You feel nothing.
It’s as if you have become a zombie. And because you cannot spare emotional energy, you push people away especially the ones you love. You may end up being glued to your computer (which is slowly killing you) or another coping mechanism not because you enjoy it but because you need that quick dopamine hit.
2. Sudden weight gain or weight loss
Overeating or undereating can manifest with depression. A weight gain of more than 5% up or down in 30 days (when you’re not actively doing so) is a potential sign of depression according to the APA’s report. You develop unhealthy eating habits as a coping mechanism. There are strong links between binge eating and depression with half of binge eaters being treated for a mental illness like depression.
It isn’t simply about eating too much or too little but also the food choices. Instead of eating a wholesome meal, you end up eating the calorie-loaded fast food starting a vicious cycle of consuming bad food and aggravating bad moods.
3. Insomnia and/or hypersomnia
Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much is also another strong contributor to the sudden weight gain or loss. It’s also a prime suspect when you start to experience depression symptoms.
Reports about sleeping disturbances – waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep – being linked to fatigue and depression. Without sufficient sleep, your body’s immune system is weakened making you prone to physical diseases, which could be tied with the myriad of pains you will feel…
4. Your body hurts for no obvious reason
Depression doesn’t just target the mind but also the body. Studies indicate up to 76% of patients diagnosed with a major depressive disorder experience some form of physical pain like headaches, stomach pain, back pain, and other unexplained pains. This isn’t always but could be a case of a psychosomatic issue. You are so beat up mentally you start to feel the different aches within your body.
5. Difficulty concentrating or thinking
This is mental warfare that can be tiring. When you’re depressed, it can be difficult to focus on even simple tasks. It’s not just on calculating or concentrating but on making decisions as well. Even seemingly simple choices can be frustrating. Depression has been linked to cognitive impairment. Reading a book, watching a movie, or simply paying attention in a personal conversation can be difficult.
Many of these symptoms already occur with our short attention span culture but fortunately, plenty of mental drills can be done to alleviate the issue. And a visit to a psychiatrist can help clear the cobwebs.