Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Top 10 Depression Symptoms - When To See Your Doctor

 Feeling down or out-of-sorts is common for many people and is usually a transient state. But, if these down-in-the-dumps feelings linger for a longer period of time, you may be dealing with depression.

Here are 10 common symptoms of depression (in no particular order):

1) You lose interest in your 'fun' activities: Your ability to enjoy once pleasurable pastimes and hobbies is diminished or non-existent. You may isolate yourself, ignore social invites and find your sex-drive is low.

2) You're sleeping more... or less: This is usually one of the first signs for many people. An inability to sleep, or falling asleep too late at night (if you're a shift-worker, this is a bit different). Also, waking very early, or having difficulty waking in the morning is common in many people suffering from depression. Total sleep time may be reduced or increased.

3) Difficulty concentrating on tasks: You are finding it hard to think straight, make decisions or remember. You may feel like you are in a "fog", or scatterbrained. You may be falling behind in school or having difficulties staying focused at work.

4) You are feeling hopeless and helpless: You feel as though things in your life are terrible and won't improve. You feel incapable of changing your situation and trapped.

5) Your body feels depressed: You're tired, slow, lethargic. You have no energy and even getting up to get a glass of water can feel like a marathon. Getting out of bed is very difficult, and you may not even make it that far.

6) Feelings of guilt and worthlessness: Self-loathing, harsh self-criticism and negative thought patterns regarding yourself. You pick on your "faults" and past mistakes, ruminating over them endlessly. This drives your feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness.

7) Changes in your appetite or weight: You notice a significant (5% or more in a month) change in body weight - either gain or loss. You may feel hungrier than normal, or less than normal. You may notice you have specific food cravings (ie: fatty foods, salty foods, sugary foods, high-carbohydrate foods like pastas, etc.)

8) You are experiencing unusual/unexplained body pains/aches: You may be experiencing more headaches, back pain, muscle-aches or stomach-aches with no known cause.

9) You feel a deep need to "escape" your life: You abuse drugs or alcohol to numb your feelings or drown out your thoughts, you may gamble compulsively, or drive dangerously and recklessly or participate in dangerous or extreme sports. Also, if you find yourself spending many long hours in front of a computer screen browsing the internet or playing video games, you may also be exhibiting escapist behaviour.

10) You feel angry, on-edge or irritable: Every little thing is bothersome for you, you lose your temper at trivial issues, perhaps getting into fights with friends and/or family. Everyone and everything is getting on your nerves. You feel restless and agitated. Maybe you are beginning to exhibit signs of violence or feelings of violence.

If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms with no known other causes and have been feeling this way for most days of the past two weeks, see your doctor and discuss the possibility of depression. They may have you fill out a questionnaire to determine if you are depressed and if you are - how depressed. Treatment options are extensive and include: various types of therapy, medications*, natural herbs and remedies*, self-help programs and books, etc. Your doctor will point you in the right direction.

*Please speak with a pharmacist prior to using any medications or natural medicines as they may interact with other medicines or food you may be taking. Please read the bottle and pamphlet on any prescription or over-the-counter medication you take.

***** If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide or speaking about suicide call your local crisis-hotline numbers or the emergency department immediately.*****

Crisis number USA:  ( 1-800-273-TALK (8255))
Crisis numbers in Canada:
Crisis number Australia:

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Other topics you may be interested in:

The Nervous System 

13 Beliefs to Disbelieve 
The downward spiral: the fastest way down!
Staying motivated when discouraged

Sleep, Insomnia and Anxiety

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