Are you concerned that you or someone you love could be depressed? We all experience the blues or down moods once in a while; but when these feelings persist and compromise our daily functioning, it can be a sign of depression. Depression is a common disorder that can take a major toll on a person and his or her family. The good news is that help and treatment are out there; although many depressed people never seek them out. It's imperative to look for the critical signs or symptoms that could mean you or your loved ones are at risk.
Two major signs of depression are: (1) Loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed and (2) Overwhelming hopelessness or pessimism.
Other major signs and symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
- Decreased energy and sluggishness
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia - especially early morning awakening, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Constant pains, headaches or stomach problems that do not respond to treatment
Every individual may express different signs and symptoms with different frequency or severity - but if 5 or more of these symptoms apply to you or someone you know - it could mean depression.
Depression in Women
Depression is also much more common in women - it affects about twice as many women as men and it's the number one cause of disability in women. One in four women will experience severe depression over the course of her life. Research suggests that hormones could play a big role directly affecting brain functions for emotions and mood. This helps explain why women may be particularly vulnerable during hormonal transition periods such as perimenopause and the post-partum period.