Depression symptoms, signs and causes

Depression can be caused by a number of factors including bereavement, alcohol or drug use, money worries etc. Symptoms of depression are extremely complex and can vary from person to person, but commonly they affect your emotional, physical and social ability. If you are feeling persistently down, lacking in confidence and positive emotions you should seek help from your GP as symptoms can interfere with work, social and family life.

Nobody is immune to depression and it can happen at any age. In fact, around 10% of men and 25% of women will develop it at some point in their life. However, no one should consider living with depression, timely help and counselling can make a lot of difference.

Although you might find it hard to believe now, by seeking the right help you can tackle your depressive illness and achieve positive mental wellbeing again

Common signs of depression-

Depression becomes a serious illness when the sufferer starts to develop more extreme symptoms. Those who suffer from depressive illness will, in some cases, find it very difficult to be in social situations and can struggle to be positive.

Although sometimes feeling low and sad is a common emotion, depressive illness is an ongoing condition and can have difficult repercussions such as a decrease in self esteem, motivation and processing abilities. In some cases if depression is not treated it can lead onto more severe mental health issues, so addressing the issue at an early point is crucial.

In some cases, it may be difficult to read whether the sufferer is truly struggling with depression. It is often a good idea to put yourself ‘ in their shoes’ before approaching them about their condition. Sensitivity is key here.

Do I have depression?-

  • A lack of positivity and reduced energy for example little or no motivation in the work place or at home. A lack of confidence and concentration and reduced self esteem.
  • Increased irritability becoming annoyed at insignificant situations and taking it out on those who are close to you
  • Lack of interest in everyday life for example dreading leaving your home and wanting to be alone on a regular basis
  • A sense of hopelessness feeling consistently defeated and unable to see a way out
  • Feeling worse in the morning not wanting to get out of bed is a common reaction to this
  • Sleeping issues insomnia is a common symptom of depression as it is likely that you are unable to switch off from any negative thoughts. Sleeping long hours is also a common side effect.
  • Change in appetite either a decrease or increase in eating which will inevitably lead to weight loss or gain.
  • Significantly lower mood crying often, feeling angry, lack of trust and unable to be positive are common symptoms.
  • Negative thoughts regarding family, friends, and sometimes life in general. Suicidal thoughts are a common side effect of depression, if this is the case please seek help immediately
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping with depression. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs will in fact hinder recovery and could lead to further problems, such as addiction, anxiety and financial troubles.
  • Retreating from social situations not meeting with friends or family, neglecting any responsibilities and decreased communication are common side effects. Accepting that you have depression is difficult in its own right, therefore meeting with family and friend

What are the emotional symptoms of depression?-

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tearful and emotionally tired
  • Feelings of extreme guilt
  • Confusion
  • Feeling sensitive and vulnerable

7 tips for dealing with the initial stages of depression-

  1. Admit that you have a problem and commit to work positively to a better state of mind
  2. Speak to a family or friend about your emotions – it is often the case that a problem shared is a problem halved
  3. Every evening write down three positive things before going to sleep and reflect on these first thing in the morning
  4. Make a plan of ‘where you want to be’ emotionally, mentally and even physically and lay out  small steps of how to get there
  5. Have a positive daily routine, for example cook at certain times of the day and have time set aside to exercise outdoors,  if at all possible
  6. Avoid alcohol, drugs and any negative influences
  7. Make a “problem list” then try and tackle the things on it one by one

Although it may be hard for you to believe, you can overcome your depression by receiving treatment. The treatments most commonly used are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a type of psychotherapy, and antidepressants. Both are proven to be successful in combating depression.

Just as a patient sees a doctor about a physical illness, a psychiatrist will look at your symptoms and explore how they have developed.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding depression help, please call 0845 277 4679. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here.