You can support someone to get help with their mental health by watching out for these key signs of depression.
It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of depression in someone before it becomes serious. Depression, or clinical depression, can manifest in other forms such as postnatal depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder. The signs can appear all at once, or more slowly and gradually.
Someone showing the signs may not always realise they’re becoming depressed. They might have to rely on people in their lives to keep an eye out for these warning signs. Knowing these signs can allow you to help them earlier. You can act and help them make positive changes before the depression becomes severe and they find themselves in crisis.
Tiredness is one of the first signs of depression. Sleep will no longer feel refreshing, leaving them feeling constantly tired and wanting to sleep. They’ll feel like sleeping during the day, and go to bed much earlier than they normally would. Tiredness can lead to concentration problems, forgetfulness and trouble making decisions that can impact on their work and day to day life. They might describe it as feeling like they’re walking around in a haze. At the opposite extreme, they may begin to suffer from insomnia, or waking up in the early hours of the morning and not being able to go back to sleep.
You may see a change in their behaviour, such as becoming irritable at the smallest annoyance and losing their temper. Something that they would normally brush off or ignore has now become incredibly annoying and frustrating. They can be noticeably more difficult to be around and short-tempered. Someone eating too loudly, people walking slowly in the street, not being able to find their keys are all examples of small things that could see them lashing out.
Increase/Decrease in Appetite
heir appetite will suddenly change completely; either wanting to eat everything in sight or nothing at all. It depends on the person whether their appetite disappears or increases, but both are a sign of depression. Depression and anxiety often coincide, with a high level of anxiety leaving many with a feeling of nausea and unable to eat. Inevitably, depression leads to weight gain or weight loss, that impacts on that person’s self-esteem. Sometimes depression can also cause digestive problems.
A Lack of Motivation
This isn’t just an ‘off’ day, this is when someone’s motivation disappears for days and then weeks on end. As with a lack of concentration, having no ‘get up and go’ affects their work or studies. They might take longer to finish that project they were once excited about. Going for a run or exercising at the gym might seem insurmountable to them, so they stop going. Their drive and positivity will go out the window. All they want to do is curl up on the sofa and watch tv.
All of us are different, but we all enjoy seeing friends and family to some degree. When depressed, someone might feel they have nothing to say, or can’t manage to be in a social situation. If they enjoy going out and socialising, it will be blatantly obvious that something is wrong when they turn down an invitation or don’t turn up. If someone is less social by nature, change might be more difficult to spot. Without seeing friends and family a person can become isolated and lonely, which causes their mood to negatively spiral even further.
No Longer Enjoying Favourite Activities
Hobbies that once fulfilled them no longer do. Activities they enjoyed don’t excite them anymore. They may describe having an empty feeling. This feeling of emptiness is a common complaint of those with depression. Their relationship with their partner may change as many people will lose interest in sex when depressed.
Depression is not just about being sad, but a myriad of feelings of helplessness, guilt and hopelessness that will become progressively worse if the person struggling doesn’t seek help.