Things You Should Know About Depression

Symptoms of Depression

During a depressive episode, people experience low mood and low energy most of the day, nearly every day. It becomes your normal emotional experience. Symptoms include feelings of emptiness or hopelessness, as well as irritability. You lose interest in things that you enjoyed and were important to you, like hobbies, work, or sex. Depression can affect your ability to sleep, and even people who manage to get enough sleep often feel tired anyway. Other people with depression experience hypersomnia, or oversleeping. Regardless of how much sleep they get, most people with depression wind up feeling and acting lethargic. Depression affects appetite for a lot of people, as well. For many, that means reduced appetite and weight loss. For others, it means food cravings and weight gain.

Depression can also cause problems with memory and concentration. People who are depressed have frequent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness. Complications like social isolation, self-harm, and conflicts with friends and family can arise. And while it’s unpleasant to talk about, it needs to be noted: frequent thoughts of death or suicide are a part of depression, and one of its biggest risks.

Of course, not every person who experiences depression will be feeling all of these things, and people who do feel them won’t necessarily feel them all of the time. Not all depression is equal in severity. And just like other ailments, the specific symptoms that appear can vary from person to person and case to case.

Image: Claudia, via Unsplash.

Did you know...

  • Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!
  • Have you ever told your husband something and he promptly forgets it? It's not his fault, actually. It really is because he's a man. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with memory) begins to shrink with age faster in men than it does in women. That's why you can remember everything, and he can't!
  • Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
  • Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.
  • Does your job make you stressed? We all know that stress is psychologically bad for you, but it also has an effect on…your allergies? A Harvard Medical School study has shown that stress causes your allergies to become worse because your body's defense response loses efficacy when repeatedly triggered by stress. Then, when you really need to physically fight something off, you're less able to!