Feeling sad, lonely, or depressed is a perfectly normal reaction to many of life’s struggles, losses or injured self-esteem. However, when these feeling last for long periods of time, cause physical symptoms, or leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to lead a normal, active life, it’s time to seek help.

Recognizing the different symptoms of depression is an important first step to feeling better and conquering the problem. Read on for common signs of depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that can be very debilitating. It’s also a prevalent disorder, with more than 300 million people suffering globally.

Depression goes a little deeper than just feeling sad, and it changes the way a person thinks, feels, and functions on a daily basis. It can be experienced in many different ways with feelings ranging from anger and restlessness to having a sense of impending doom or feeling lifeless, empty and apathetic.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Depression varies from person to person. However, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for.

Many of the following symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows, but the more symptoms a person displays and the longer they’ve been experiencing them, the more likely it is that it’s depression they’re struggling with.

  • Sadness – Includes feeling hopeless and empty, and no matter how hard a person tries they can’t control their negative thoughts. They may find themselves crying for no reason at all.
  • Guilt – If a person is depressed, they may feel worthless and helpless. They could see their feelings as a sign of weakness and be overly critical of themselves.
  • Irritability – Feeling agitated, restless or possibly even violent. Tolerance levels are generally much lower than normal, and they’ll have a short temper with everyone and everything getting on their nerves.
  • Loss of energy – Feeling sluggish, fatigued and physically drained. Even the smallest of tasks tires them out or takes much longer to complete.
  • Loss of interest – A common symptom of depression is a loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as social interactions, hobbies or sex.
  • Changes in sleep patterns – This could be insomnia, waking in the early hours of the morning and not being able to get to sleep or oversleeping.
  • Changes in appetite – Depression can cause people to eat too much and also too little. A warning sign of depression is a weight gain or loss of more than 5% of your body weight in one month.
  • Physical symptoms – Includes aches and pains, headaches, or digestive problems that have no apparent reason.
  • Mental symptoms – Trouble concentrating, remembering details or making decisions. Many people with depression describe the feeling that their thought processes have slowed down.
  • Suicidal thoughts – One severe sign of depression is having thoughts of harming yourself.
  • Reckless behavior – Engaging in escapist behavior such as compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports. Substance abuse is another symptom that requires a special kind of help. Visit forwardrecovery.com to find out more.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or you know someone else who is, it’s important to seek help, especially when the symptoms have lasted longer than a few weeks. The first place to go is your doctor who will be able to provide the next steps needed to leading a happier life.

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