Identifying Symptoms of Depression

By Hiranmayii Awli Mohanan

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally. While the word itself has been thrown about casually to describe a short-lived emotional response, depression isn’t the same as grieving for loss or mood fluctuations. It is debilitating, renders the person helpless and affects him or her greatly. So, how do you identify symptoms of depression? Read through these warning signs to determine if it’s time for you or your loved ones to see a mental health professional.

Major depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about life in general. Having a hopeless or helpless outlook on life is one of the most common symptoms of depression. Other negative feelings may include feeling worthless, having self-hate or inappropriate guilt. Common, recurring thoughts of depression may be vocalised as, “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point?”

When you’re suffering from depression, things or activities that you once loved now don’t bring you joy. In fact, there is a loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once looked forward to — sports, hobbies, or going out with friends — is yet another telltale sign of major depression. Another symptom of major depression is losing interest in sex, decreased sex drive or even impotence.

While depression hasn’t been shown to cause anxiety, the two conditions goes hand in hand. The symptoms of anxiety can include:
• nervousness, restlessness, or feeling tense
• feelings of danger, panic, or dread
• rapid heart rate
• rapid breathing
• increased or heavy sweating
• trembling or muscle twitching
• trouble focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about

Another reason that feeds into losing interest in things or activities once enjoyed is due to fatigue. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This, in result, leads to excessive sleeping. In addition, depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.

Those suffering from depression may experience weight and appetite fluctuations. This experience varies for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others won’t be hungry and will lose weight. One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if they’re intentional or not. If they’re not, it may mean that they’re caused by depression.

Depression is often connected with suicide as those who’re depressed look for a means to end their suffering and pain. People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first like talking about it or making a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person, call 911 or your local emergency number. Stay with the person until help arrives and remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm. Lend them your ear and listen without judging, arguing, threatening, or yelling.

The depressed mind often loses perspective and sometimes advocates permanent solutions to intense emotional pain. So, most important of all, if your loved ones are expressing any intention to harm themselves, help them immediately. Depression affects millions of people, but there are
varying treatments available, from lifestyle changes to medications. No matter the path of treatment you choose, asking for professional help is the first step to getting back to feeling like yourself again. Following are some of the mental health care providers in Malaysia.

The Mind Consultant

Seed Connections
+6017 2776605

SOLS Health
*only for B40 individuals
Tel: 018 – 9003 247



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