Every single one of us feels sad sometimes. Every single one of us needs someone to lean on once in a while.
It’s normal to feel down after disappointments, defeats, or a bruised ego. But for 8.5 percent of women, and nearly 5 percent of men, this is more than a passing feeling. Depression shows up in many different ways for many different people of every age group around the world.
In some cases, it can be seasonal, causing individuals to retreat during the longer, darker months of the year. For some, it’s postpartum hormones causing new mothers to struggle to take care of themselves and their newborns. For others, it’s a daily affliction.
What Causes Depression?
While it’s not 100% clear what causes depression, several factors may be involved. Just like with many mental illnesses, biology seems to play a big part. If you have a history of depression in your family, you may find yourself more susceptible to this disease. Anything from brain chemistry, hormones, and genetics can play a role.
While the median age of depression falls around 32 years, no age group is completely free from this illness.
How to Recognize Depression:
You may find yourself depressed only once or twice in your life. However, it’s not uncommon for individuals to have episode after episode. If you are feeling any of the following symptoms to the point where it’s affecting your daily life activities, it could be time to consider asking for help.
Here Are 10 Signs of Depression:
- Feel sad, lonely, or empty.
- Feel worthless, constant guilt, or focused on the past.
- Move through extreme moods quickly.
- Find yourself having emotional outbursts or strong emotional reactions to minor situations.
- Are not interested in the hobbies, relationships, or social activities you once were.
- Find yourself craving foods and gaining weight.
- Uninterested in food and losing weight.
- Are sleeping too much or too little.
- Have frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
- Find yourself taking risks that could lead to self-harm.
If you identify with any of the above, please seek help and find someone to talk to.
How to Treat Depression:
If you think you might have depression, it’s important to find someone to talk to. A medical professional is at the top of the list, but if you’re hesitant to do that, find a trusted friend, spiritual guide, co-worker, or family member. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to depression. We all deserve to be happy in this world, and if that happiness has been taken from you, it is okay to go searching for it.
Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide today. If you have feelings of harming yourself, seek medical attention immediately.
Suicide affects the young and it’s the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-25, with the most common symptoms being intense anger, self-ridicule, and moodiness. Depression also affects the elderly. Unfortunately, the older people get, the more likely it is that depression will go undiagnosed. As adults we are great at hiding our feelings, pretending everything is okay, and retreating into ourselves when in reality we are hurting greatly.
Depression in the elderly is even more difficult to diagnose because symptoms are so similar to other disorders common to aging.
- Difficulties remembering.
- Personality changes.
- Physical aches and pains.
- Fatigue and loss of appetite.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
If you see someone you care about sinking into self-destructive habits or tendencies, don’t be shy. Step forward and lend a kind ear. You just might be saving someone’s life.
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