Roughly 264 million people around the world live with depression. However, there are six different types of depression, with major depressive disorder being the most commonly diagnosed form. In the US, roughly 17.3 million adults ages 18 and older had at least one major depressive episode in 2017. Getting help, whether through cognitive behavioral therapy or prescription medications, can help people with depression manage the symptoms. Learn about some of the early signs of depression and when to take action.
1. A loss of interest in activities
Occasionally stepping back from hobbies and activities is expected from time to time. People’s passions can change over time. But a total lack of interest in activities that previously brought happiness can be a potential sign of depression. Likewise, a loss of interest in spending time with friends and relatives and even a lack of interest in sex can all be signs pointing to depression.
2. Fatigue and sleeping problems
People get tired occasionally or sometimes struggle to fall or stay asleep. But serious fatigue and persistent difficulty with sleeping are both early signs that depression might be the culprit. Unfortunately, persistent fatigue can also lead to a lack of energy, which plays into a loss of interest. And conversely, struggling to sleep can also lower mood, creating a vicious cycle. Note that depression and insomnia are often linked together.
3. Mysterious aches and pains
Occasional aches and pains are a part of life. But typically, the physical discomfort can be directly linked to an event or scenario as the root cause. For many people with depression, physical symptoms manifest with no apparent underlying cause. Symptoms can include persistent headaches, constant digestive issues, or even mystery pain. Even after seeing a physician, no cause may be found.
Taking action and getting help
Left untreated, depression can be a debilitating mental health condition that can greatly reduce the quality of life over time. But many people can lead fulfilling lives even with a depression diagnosis. Often, stressful life events or even other chronic health conditions can increase a person’s risk of depression. Seeking treatment is one of the best ways to manage the condition. A doctor may recommend a person with depression seek out talk therapy or consider medication. And for some people, engaging in regular exercise can help to ease symptoms and improve mode. But most importantly, people who suspect a depressive episode might be happening should speak with someone, whether a friend, relative, or licensed professional, to begin seeking help.