Most people will experience times in their lives where they feel deep sadness, loneliness or heartbreak, but not everyone will experience depression, which are long periods of these felt emotions that affect daily living. Depression has long been a taboo subject that hasn’t been widely discussed, but times are changing and so are the conversations that we have about depression. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify whether you’re depressed or simply feeling sad, so it’s important to educate ourselves on the signs of depression and what to do if we are depressed. Read on to find out how depression works and how to recognize it with this guide!
More and more patients are being diagnosed with mood disorders, also called affective disorders, which are a mental health classification for conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and insomnia. Mood disorders can occur in anyone at any time, with children and teens being affected, as well. Although the symptoms for children and teenagers vary compared to adults, they’re still very similar. Research hasn’t found an exact cause to why mood disorders occur, but some speculate that there may be an imbalance in a person’s neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that affects how one feels and thinks. Mood disorders tend to run in the family but can also be influenced by stressful life changes. Being fired from a job, losing a loved one and financial trouble can all bring on some type of mood disorder, whether for a short period or for months/years at a time. Children who have at least one parent with a mood disorder are also at higher risk for developing one themselves. Common symptoms of mood disorders include feelings of inadequacy, guilt, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, relationship problems, changes in appetite and irritability. While these symptoms can be felt by anyone who isn’t experiencing a mood disorder, they are still telltale signs of something more serious that should be addressed by a professional.
Signs of Depression
The most well-known mood disorder is depression, which occurs whenever sad feelings last for a very long time and interfere with your daily life and interactions with others. Those experiencing depression usually have a negative mood that affects all aspects of their lives, including feelings of worthlessness, regret, helplessness, poor concentration, social withdrawal and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression is oftentimes caused by hormonal imbalances, but poor dietary patterns, certain medications and hereditary factors all influence if and how often you experience depression, especially when multiple factors are combined. Women are twice as likely as men to have depression, with symptoms occurring almost every day. Depressed adults may suffer from memory difficulties, fatigue, social withdrawal, personality changes, physical pain and thoughts of suicide. Children and teens typically show different symptoms of depression than adults do, and tend to exhibit signs of clinginess, negativity, anger, drug/alcohol abuse, sensitivity, poor school performance, excessive eating/sleeping and self-harm. If you notice your child regularly displaying one or more of these symptoms, it’s important to have them meet with a medical professional as soon as you can.
When To Get Help
It is always better to seek help earlier rather than later, even if you aren’t sure you or a family member is suffering from depression or other mood disorder. Some people are reluctant to seek medical treatment right away, so talking to a friend, loved one or religious leader can be effective sources of support for them. Meeting with a health care provider will allow you to be evaluated, diagnosed and treated for your mood disorder. You don’t have to do it all alone to find the happiness you once had.
Get emergency help by calling 911 if you want to hurt yourself or attempt suicide. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, there are other options for you to seek counsel and talk about what is going on, including:
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. For veterans, use the same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Call your doctor, therapist or mental health professional.
- Reach out to a family member or close friend.
- Contact a religious leader.
Find Happiness Again
Your mood disorder does not define you, and at Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we focus on treating the whole person through an integrative approach and natural therapies to get patients back on their feet. Our experienced team is dedicated to your mental, emotional and physical health, and can help you on your journey to happiness and recovery. Call our office today at (970) 631-8286 to schedule a consultation!