Everybody goes through rough periods when they are sad and blue. It’s very normal to experience periods like this at some point during your life.  Crying is also very normal, and can prove very cathartic and has the proven benefit to allow for emotional release of negative feelings and energy within the body.

It is when this blue period seems to continue for a very long time – regardless of the patients attempts to stop the negative feelings – that there is a good reason to be very concerned.  When this happens, it is usually a clear indication that the problem is actually depression.

Depression is among the top mental illnesses affecting Americans.  Around 10 million Americans suffer from the effects of depression – every six months.  It is important to realize however, that depression does not affect people of one race or social rank more than people of another race or social status.

As with all other diseases, recognizing the signs is the first step in fighting the effects and the disease itself.  If you find that you are dealing with the following signs of depression for more than two weeks, you should probably consider seeking the help of a professional in managing your condition.

1. Drastic changes in appetite, either increased or decreased.

Sudden weight gain or loss is often one of the first signs that depression is an issue with a person. There are of course other conditions that should be ruled out prior to a diagnosis, but its definitely a warning sign not to be ignored.

2. Disruption of normal sleeping habits, either increased or decreased.

If a patient has always been a very sound sleeper with normal sleeping habits and all of the sudden he/she begins experiencing insomnia or restless sleep there is a reason for concern. On the other hand, if the patient begins sleeping much more than normal there is also a reason for concern.

3. Sudden loss of interest in enjoyable activities and things that used to be enjoyable.

If the patient begins to suddenly lose interest in an activity or hobby about which they are passionate, and it’s not a slow developing loss of interest this is an indication that there could be depression lurking.

4. Low energy levels on a continual basis.

This is sometimes accompanied by a general shift in the patient’s attitude and outlook. Lack of desire to participate in normal activities, especially fun ones, is to be viewed as a potential sign of depression. Also, there may be denial on the part of the patient or a statement that they are just too tired to do anything.

5. General bad feeling or feeling of unworthiness.

When depression is the most serious is when the patient begins to feel that their life is worthless and that they are no longer capable of loving or being loved or appreciated.

6. Loss of hope for the future.

The patient has proceeded past the sadness stage and the feeling unworthy stage and has possibly progressed into complete hopelessness and despair regardless of their own attempts to fix the problem.

7. Unexpected guilt – or guilt that is not associated with a specific event in the patient’s life.

The patient may begin to deal with guilt from unknown origins and might refuse any attempts to be happy.  This increases the general blue feeling, and the loss of self-worth.

8. Increased indecisiveness in a person.

Not everyone who has problems making a decision is depressed, but when someone was a generally fast decision-maker and they can no longer seem to decide anything there is a problem. Also, when a normally fickle person begins to just make decisions haphazardly it is also concerning.

9. Suicidal Tendencies.

If you suspect that someone is suicidal, stop reading and call for medical assistance immediately.

10. Complete engulfing sadness - Melancholia.

When a person begins to experience Melancholia they may begin to wake up much earlier than normal and to move extremely slowly in the morning. Noticeable changes are the speed at which the patient walks when they first wake up in the morning.

11. Patient becomes mentally disturbed.

A person who is severely mentally disturbed will begin to focus on the morbid. They may detach themselves from all forms of comfort and possibly may begin hallucinating.

12. Physical Symptoms – Pain, etc.

A patient with depression may begin to experience stomach pain or muscle aches with no other symptoms and no clear explanation.

13. Feeling that Life is Passing By.

A depressed person may feel like they are an outsider in their own life. It’s much more than feeling like life is unfair or that they have done something wrong. They may actually feel like they are missing out on their own life.

14. Refusal to participate in any family or social activities or the opposite.

Depressed patients tend to isolate themselves from family and friends. On the other hand, the depressed person may insist on never being alone, surrounding themselves at all times with other people.

If ignored, depression can and will undoubtedly lead to more serious mental and physical conditions. This could potentially include death – either by suicide or other methods. It is crucial to recognize the possible signs of depression so that should one of your family members or friends begin to show the signs they can be pointed in the direction of finding the best possible help for dealing with their condition.



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