When you have a bad day at work or a rough breakup, you might say you’re depressed. That’s fine — most people know what you mean. In reality, you’re sad or frustrated or unhappy, and we all feel that way at times.
The more serious problem is when you become one of an increasing number of Americans who are experiencing major depressive episodes — this disorder affects more than 16 million US adults, which is almost 7% of the population 18 and over.
If the dark feelings you’re experiencing don’t go away after a period of time, consider seeing a mental health professional to work through the issues. At Arlington Family Practice, our team includes experts who are experienced in helping patients through depression.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms we often see that indicate depression:
Possibly the most common sign of depression is having a hopeless outlook on life. No matter what anyone says, it seems like there’s no hope of anything ever getting better. You even lose interest in the hobbies and activities you normally enjoy.
Depression doesn’t necessarily cause anxiety, but the two often go together. Anxiety can include nervousness, feelings of panic, rapid breathing, and trouble thinking about anything other than what you’re worried about.
Part of depression usually includes an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, along with a lack of energy. This can lead to excessive sleeping, but depression can also cause insomnia, which only makes fatigue and anxiety worse.
Changes in weight and appetite
Some people may gain weight while they’re depressed, while others may lose weight. The key is to determine if the dietary and weight changes are done on purpose or not. If the changes haven’t been planned, they may be caused by depression.
Finally, if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or feel like the world would be better off without you, these are significant warning signs of depression. If this is the case with you or a loved one, seek help immediately, before the situation gets any worse.
What treatment can help?
The most effective form of treatment against depression is regular therapy. Just having someone to help you work through your feelings and point you in the right direction is invaluable.
Your doctor can also test your hormones to see if they’re in balance, and antidepressants can also serve a useful purpose.
Our team at Arlington Family Practice understands how the pressures of this life can easily lead to depression. If you just want to talk, or if you know you need help, our doors are always open to you. Just contact us by phone or online to schedule an appointment.
Remember, you’re not alone — there’s always help available. Get in touch today.