Psychiatry Facts: Factors That Increase The Risk Of Developing Depression

 

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When depression reports have been flooding the news and the Internet, aren’t you a tad bit curious what the factors are that might influence the risk of having such a condition?

 

Psychiatry states that depressive disorders choose neither age nor gender, and actual reasons why people are depressed aren’t usually known. However, researchers and medical professionals suspect that there are quite a few explanations about why depression occurs and why it is a condition that is not always escapable or preventable.

“For some people, the biological factors, such as genetics, may be stronger than the other two. For others, it may be caused mainly by a psychological issue, such as one’s personality or way of coping with stress,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

An estimation of 10% to 15% of the entire population may struggle with clinical depression within their lifetime. And based on the World Health Organization’s evaluation, five percent of men and nine percent of women will experience depression in any particular year.

 

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Factors That Increase The Risk For Depression

 

  1. Inadequate Nutrition

We’ll be starting off with a risk factor that’s far less complicated to understand compared to the other risk factors, and that’s inadequate intake of nutritious food. Diet with little nutritional value is a huge risk factor for developing depression in a lot of ways. Assortments of deficiencies concerning vitamins and minerals are said to be a major player in causing depressive symptoms to worsen.

 

Evidence shows that foods lacking in omega-3 fatty acids are imbalanced and can increase the risk for depression. For those who are fond of sweets, you will be surprised how your comfort food can be the source of your melancholia.

 

  1. Death Of A Loved One

After losing a family member or a close friend, grieving takes place. The bereaved may experience sleeping difficulties, loss of appetite, disinterest in specific activities, and sadness, which are all typical responses to losing someone.

 

Individuals may experience grief for a short period, which is often mistaken as depression at some point. Depression occurs if the sadness does not subside in a week or two. Furthermore, the symptoms tend to worsen and add up as days pass.

 

  1. Stressful Changes

Stress means differently for every person. Most of the time, stress can be fought using various coping mechanisms. But specific life events may overwhelm an individual’s ability to deal and manage the stress. Depletion of coping strategies may increase a person’s risk to become depressed.

 

Researchers are stating that increased cortisol, the hormone secreted when stressed, directly affects serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of satisfaction and happiness, which then leads to depression.

 

  1. Family History

It’s in your genes or your biology; you are wired to be depressed at a certain point, and you cannot do anything about it. Family history is a more complicated risk factor for depressive disorders that is yet to be concluded by researchers. However, this reason is often argued upon by investigating the link between family history and present-day mental illness.

“Other mental illnesses, such as alcoholism in family members, can also increase the risk for depression,” says Jim Haggerty, MD.

Therefore, if you know anyone in your family, either your grandparents, relatives, parents, or siblings who have depressive symptoms, there is an increased risk that you may develop the condition as well.

 

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Watch Your Health

When talking about mental health, somehow, there is proof that the mind-body connection exists and if one of these two is harmed or damaged, a series of medical problems will occur. “Medical illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders can increase the risk of depression,” says Ben Martin, Psy.D. “Chronic pain is known to be associated with depression.” For this reason, it is strictly advised that people become more mindful of their health, whether it’s physical or mental, for prevention purposes.

 

 

Gadgets May Get Your Children Depressed

 

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New study associate anxiety, severe depression, suicide attempts and suicide to rising usage of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Parents are highly encouraged to help their children build real relationships that involve the actual connection, making eye contacts and interpreting body language. Local mental health experts urge parents and teens to consciously include in their routine the balance between real and virtual communication.

“They learn by watching us how to have a conversation, how to read other people’s facial expressions. And if that’s not happening, children are missing out on important development milestones,” says Jenny Radesky, MD.

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Using technology and smartphones is perfectly fine as long as the amount of time spent on these are regulated and the person using it can create boundaries in his virtual life. According to the survey done by CDC, it is revealed that feelings of suicidal thoughts and hopelessness has risen by 12% during the period and almost half of the teenagers who are spending five or more hours a day on smartphone, laptop or tablet stated that they have contemplated, planned or attempted suicide at one point in comparison to the 28% of teenagers who spend less than an hour a day on these devices. The increase was also noticed by social workers, counselors, and mental health experts. They see upticks in signs of depression and anxiety among teens, but these issues come with solutions to lessen the risks for teenagers. This is where parents and professionals assistance is needed.

It is unfair to blame technology for the increasing incidence of depression solely, after all, it is a natural object that can either be good or bad depending on how people view and develop behaviors around them. Other experts believe that the increase in depression and anxiety is attributed to a higher frequency of smartphone usage and less stigma about mental health issues. More than ever, teenagers are aware of and verbalize more about mental health in general. Numerous adolescents would point out the relationship they have online is real since communication is frequent despite it being done virtually. Mobile phones can also serve as a digital security blanket which provides individuals to tinker with their phones than interact with others. It is kind of a flag that says stay away I’m busy. Despite the advances in technology towards mimicking real face to face encounters, it cannot substitute the benefit of face to face conversation. Much of the communication involves nonverbal cues and immediate feedback. The connection of gadget uses, and depression is like a chicken and egg relationship. It is still unknown whether they avoid face to face interaction because they are depressed or they are depressed because they are on social media.

 

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In essence, parents need to set boundaries and constitute a routine. Make a clear rule that self-care activities such as hygiene, study time and sleep should not be compromised instead of long hours on social media and technology. . “Ensure balance in your child’s life,” says Dona Matthews, Ph.D. If they are more interested in establishing relationships online than in real life, then, it might be best to consult a counselor or psychiatrist. Your child might be experiencing anxiety disorders. In establishing rules, discuss it thoroughly with your child and incorporate their suggestions and input. “Model appropriate cell phone use. If we model restraint, maybe our kids will see it’s possible,” Michael Ungar, Ph.D., recommends.

Dating A Person Diagnosed With Clinical Depression

There are many challenges that you may need to face when it comes to the dating scene. You have to prepare yourself for many things, especially if you want to date a person exclusively. First of all, it is important that you have identified all your deal-breakers so that it will be easier on your part to know whether staying with a particular person is the right thing to do. Second, be sure that you have accepted all the great stuff and even the flaws of the person that you are dating. The key to the success of a relationship is constant understanding and acceptance.

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Depression Over What Is Right And Wrong

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As human beings, we understand the use of our hearts and mind when it comes to judgment. We know that both of these things must get along to create a better decision. But apparently, that process only gets used by a few people that can handle their emotional and mental capability well enough to make better reasoning. Because most of us, we often favor one more than the other. That is the reason why in this world, there is the stress over what is right and wrong.

The Inability To Control Things

Nobody can control things, and that is a mere fact we can all agree. However, we are created to think and work differently. Therefore, chances are, there are those people who can make and do things better than us.

“…they hold other people responsible for their emotional pain. They may also take the opposite track and instead blame themselves for every problem — even those clearly outside their own control,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Given that state, our inability to control things becomes an issue. We tend to feel overwhelmed by others capability enough for us to question ours. We get so depressed of thinking about what the things we are doing wrong that others don’t for them to be able to be on top of us are. Some will identify the feeling as jealousy, but it is entirely more on negative self-judgment. “Anxiety can produce a lot of negative chatter,” says Margarita Tartakovsky, MS.

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The Eagerness For Reciprocality

Admit it. We strongly believe that what we do for others should get reciprocated. There is this sense of wanting others to give back what we offered them. And when they do not retaliate, we make a clear judgment that these people are unworthy. But is that their fault? Well, things become too depressing when we think about it because, at some point, we are the ones to blame for that. We give too much because we want it back. We offer ourselves to those people because we assume they are going to offer themselves in return. There is this eagerness of reciprocality that, in reality, hardly ever happens.

The Demand For Everything Good

Funny how most of us want better things in life but are not entirely willing to make an effort. We often find ourselves complaining about stuff that we can never have. We get too indulged in thinking things should have been better if done in different ways. As humans, we want everything easy, convenient, and better. However, the problem is, we are all ignorant to change. We get depressed over something that we demand so much, but we are not that eager to achieve it. With that, we sour-grape because it is the best excuse we can have. As we can see, we bother our emotional and mental strength by altering what we think is correct and incorrect.

 

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Honestly, it is not that complicated to understand human nature. When it comes to a psychological basis, we are all on the same path at some point. We share the same sentiments towards what people should and should not have. However, there are boundaries when it comes to our needs and wants. With that, things become stressful and depressing because our emotional and mental capacity is limited only to what we know is right and wrong. “When your conscience tells you that you have done something wrong, it is important to face it, make amends and learn from your mistake,” says Maud Purcell, LCSW.

Spotting A Friend Suffering From Depression: When “I’m Okay” Is No Longer Convincing

 

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As good friends, we would always want to know ‘what’s up’ with our friends not because we like to eavesdrop but because we’re mainly concerned about their well-being. This is especially true if we’ve been recently noticing patterns of unusual behavior that might be caused by a specific mental illness like depression.

 

Noticing The Risk Factors

 

Depression is triggered by a lot of factors in a person’s life. If you are aware that your friend has the following predisposing factors, you, therefore, have to be very observant for signs of depression:

 

  • A family history of depression
  • Dealt with emotional and physical abuse
  • Experienced loss or death of a loved one
  • Struggling with personal turmoil or conflict with relationships
  • Going through changes in life which include divorce, unemployment, retirement, pregnancy, and marriage
  • History of substance or alcohol abuse
  • Taking medications for a pre-existing illness

 

Identifying Depressive Cues

 

More often than not, people with depression would rather keep the condition to themselves rather than bothering the people around them with their struggles due to the ideation that they won’t understand or would just turn a deaf ear or a blind eye. When “I’m okay” or “I’m fine” just won’t cut it, and the words sound distasteful coming from a friend who’s apparently suffering from depression, here are some verbal cues to immediately suspect if your friend needs help.

 

 

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  1. “I Don’t Feel Like Going Out.”

 

At the end of a long day at work, your co-workers asked if you and your friend want to join them to hang out at a specific place, but then your friend immediately declined and said that she’s tired and just wants to go home. The decline in socializing is one of the leading signs of depression. Sometimes, this just means that your friend just wants to be left alone in the comforts of her home where she feels secured and at ease.

 

  1. “I Don’t Feel In Control.”

 

When your friend tells you that he feels chained and trapped with no hopes of seeing it through, he is most likely having episodes of depression. The utterance of such words should prompt you that your friend needs someone who attentively listens, who they can vent to without judgment. Ask him what ignited his feelings. Never throw in unsolicited advice. Sometimes, people just need someone who listens.

 

  1. “Just Text Me.”

 

Don’t insist on calling because that might trigger your friend’s anxiety that could lead to a profound mood, causing depressive symptoms. Anxious, depressed people are not keen on talking on the phone because they find it difficult to express what they feel due to the nervousness of being caught off-guard. It is easier for people who are depressed to chat through social media applications than engage in a one-on-one conversation through video calling, which is worse than a phone call.

 

  1. “Can You Please Wake Me Up?”

 

Sometimes, you would wonder if your friend is just too lazy to set his alarm and get up once it goes on. However, what you have to keep in mind is that one of the critical cues of depression is being spiritless upon waking up. The person usually doesn’t want to get out of bed and just wants to sleep in with no interest in eating or doing self-care whatsoever. When your friend asks you this favor, it is in your best interest to eagerly agree because your friend trusts you enough to give that extra push to get up and face life’s challenges.

 

  1. “Can You Please Call My Therapist?”

 

People with depression often miss their appointments with their therapists because they feel uneasy making that one phone call; this is an enormous barrier to your friend’s process of recovery. Always be kind enough to make your friend’s appointments. And if you’re feeling extra gracious, with your friend’s permission, you can go with her to see the therapist as a sign of support. People who are depressed significantly benefit from having some company to make them feel less lonely.

 

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“I’m okay,” is a generic answer that usually has a deeper meaning to it; these phrases are both deceiving and unnerving because they mask someone’s real emotional and mental well-being. Friends, as support systems, are significant in the treatment of depression. Therefore, being equipped with the knowledge on how to know if your friends are experiencing the condition is beneficial in helping them cope and manage their depressive episodes.

 

 

What Happens When You Surround Yourself With Depressed People?

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Are you familiar with the saying, “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are?” Well, guess what, that is entirely one of the most known quotes that people use to define someone’s personality. In this case, it is not about the behavior or habits that matter. It is about the current mental state of those people you surround yourself with. If you think these people’s mental condition has nothing to do with you, then you might want to reconsider. Yes, there are instances that it is not a big of a deal. But surrounding yourself with depressed people can make a significant impact.

Things Become Overwhelming

When you surround yourself with people who continuously have a lot on their plate, there is a tendency that you will become too involved. Sometimes, that involvement leads to sharing the same sentiments towards what these people are going through. No, it is not a bad thing. But what connects it to negativity is its impact on your life. The consumption of too much bad vibes can make you feel anxious and stress over nothing in particular. With that, there is a chance you might lose motivation and entirely feel unwilling to do anything.

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You Get Drown With The Crowd

One thing that is evident when it comes to toxicity is the wrong method of accepting it. For some people, they try to understand the cause of stressful situations in their lives so they can find a way to work on it. However, there is someone like you who chooses to get down with the crowd. As a result, you get even closer to the negative impact of those depressed people in your lives. If that happens, all of you in the circle is more likely to become trapped in an unfortunate situation. From that state, recovery becomes impossible, and sources of help become insufficient.

There’s Emotional And Mental Instability

The best definition of the toxicity comes from those people who can never find the right reasons to stay happy and positive. If you are the one that is fortunate enough to stabilize your emotional and mental health, then it is better to keep up that way. Because if you allow depressed people to input negative things in your head, you can expect mental and emotional instability to come your way. Chances are, you become more unaware of yourself because you get consumed by the issues these depressed people have in their lives.

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You Lose The Confidence

In case it still doesn’t bother you that the toxic people you surround yourself with are unhealthy, you might want to check on your confidence. Ask yourself if you are even thinking the same way after a couple of negative thoughts you get from those depressed people. If you are not happy with the evaluation, then do something about it. The loss of your self-confidence is a sign that you are now one of these unfortunate individuals.

Now you choose. Would you stick with toxic people and become one of them. Or would you aim for self-betterment and cut them off? Your time starts now.

Grief Versus Depression: Similarities And Dissimilarities

 

 

More often than not, a lot of people interchange depression with grief. While both manifest comparable symptoms, they are entirely different. According to Christopher Lane Ph.D.,  “Doctors can – and should – be able to distinguish grief, a normal response to loss, from depression, a mental disorder.”

 

Having a good grasp of the similarities and differences of grief and depression is crucial in seeking help and treatment. While knowing how to cope with grief will help people to eventually pull through, knowing what to do with depression can save a life.

 

The difference lies in the way the two are experienced antithetically. Because symptoms are alike, there are complications regarding differentiating one from the other, and for this reason, the distinction is vital.

 

Distinguishing Grief from Depression

Due to the overlapping of symptoms, knowing the dissimilarities of grief and depression can be quite challenging. To settle discrepancies once and for all, here are facts about grief and depression with their similarities and dissimilarities.

Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD explains that “Sadness over loss is not depression. Grief must be experienced, not stifled or medicated.” She adds, “But people can become depressed from persistent and unremitting stress, or as the outcome of trauma.”

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  1. Loss Is A Significant Qualifier

So between grief and depression, which accounts for loss as the primary qualifier? It’s grief. Grief is primarily due to the death of someone or something that has been a considerable part of a person’s life; this could either be a significant other, a parent, a pet, a job, or a child. Grief is intrinsic in human existence and it is important to note that it comes and eventually goes. “Grief tends to occur in waves; it has an ebb and flow to it,” Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. describes.

 

Depression, on the other hand, is inevitably related to internal causes, which means that loss might be involved. However, it is just a way to worsen the mental illness and is not mainly the reason why the condition happened in the first place. Depression is a psychological disorder that incapacitates those who experience it due to several factors like:

 

  • Genetics or a family history
  • Psychological and environmental causes
  • Stress and pressure
  • Major life altercations and changes
  • Pre-existing physical conditions
  • Substance or alcohol abuse

 

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  1. Onset And Duration Play A Huge Part

Unresolved grief can worsen and turn into complicated grief which somehow has similar symptoms to depression. Here, what is presumed to be a natural grieving process has gotten more severe and intense that it lasts for more than six months. Out of extreme guilt and the feeling of being mainly responsible for the loss, the grieving process has been extended. Sometimes, complicated grief has become severe that it reaches a point where the person is having difficulties accepting the loss. Most of those who are experiencing complicated grief may yearn to see or talk to the deceased and sometimes get upset with feelings of emptiness and loneliness.

 

When talking about onset and duration, depression is primarily triggered by a particular life-changing event, death included, and the feeling of melancholia can cloud the mind and affect the person for more than six months and can persist for years if untreated. Furthermore, depression requires monitoring because depressed people tend to have bouts of suicidal ideations. People who are depressed have minds that are flooded with negative thoughts and feelings that are difficult to ignore.

 

  1. Prevalence Is An Important Aspect

Grief is universal; while depression, even if experienced by people all over the world, is uncommon. One way or another, everyone will go through loss and will eventually get over it. Depression, being a mental disorder, can only affect a percentage of the population. As previously indicated, grief is mainly caused by a deficit in a person’s normalcy and is not due to biology, whereas one of the leading reasons for the existence of depression is a family history and not everyone has it in their genes.

 

The Similarities

Due to these similarities, people tend to identify which is which mistakenly. What are the typical coincidences?

 

  • Fatigue and inadequate energy to perform
  • Disturbed sleeping pattern
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Mixed emotions of sadness and anger
  • Not wanting to participate in enjoyable activities
  • Sense of despair with episodes of considering suicide

 

Handling Grief and Depression

Whether it’s you or someone you know, managing grief and depression is essential for immediate recovery.

 

Dealing with bereavement is a trying time. Here are the ways on how to handle grief:

 

  • Embrace and accept the loss and the pain that comes along with it.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself; death is part of life that everyone has to experience.
  • Comparing other people’s grief to yours is not beneficial for your path to self-healing; people grieve differently.
  • Follow regular routines and as much as possible, do not introduce changes in your life anytime
  • Veer away from drugs or alcohol for it may cause further complications and can lengthen or worsen your grieving process.
  • Reach out to family and friends.

 

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Dealing with depression can be much more specific. The treatment options are as follows:

 

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Exercise and a healthy diet
  • Seeing a therapist and joining support groups

 

The bottom line is, whether it’s grief or depression, what matters is how you cope. It is advised that self-care and mental health treatments should be considered significantly so that none of the two can affect your life and relationships.

 

 

 

Living In A Depressing Environment

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A lot of individuals may ask what makes them better individuals. Yes, there is education, well-mannered upbringing, and life status in some cases. But what they do not seem to include on the significant factors is the environment they currently have. A lot of individuals believe that the totality of their personality has something to do only with how they see, know, and learn things. But, of course, that is not true. The environment plays a significant role in making them exactly who they are.

Talking about the surrounding that people may have; what if the environment is toxic and depressing? How will it benefit them from having a better outlook in life? If the things around these individuals often make them anxious, stress, agitated, and depressed, what betterment can it give to the overall emotional, physical, and mental development?

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The Change Of Perspectives

Having a depressing environment is sometimes not anyone’s fault. Since life has no certainties, there are cases that individuals cannot control their sufferings. It is very unfortunate because a lot of people with strong emotional and mental capability get consumed by their surroundings. The sad part of that is those emotionally and psychologically stable individuals eventually engage in a change of perspective. Meaning, the more they surround themselves with negativity, the more they become unable to get better. Ultimately, though they are confident and aware of themselves, they will lose the value they have for what they supposed to believe is mentally correct.

Sometimes, even if these people know what they are doing and understand the things that are happening, they start to ignore it. That is because the environment they have is unintentionally telling them to stop fighting for growth. That explains why a considerable percentage of poor-mindset individuals stay that way. These people linger to negativity instead of trying to get out of their comfort zones. These people tell themselves that it is okay to be like that because everybody is the same. And when someone is trying to work his way out, he then becomes a trying-hard outcast.

You see, that kind of mentality is nothing but complete garbage. People lie to themselves and force themselves to think that they are satisfied with everything. But the truth is, these individuals long for overall development. If given a chance, they will try and change things the way it is supposed to happen.

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Insight

A depressing environment is a choice. Yes, if things matter, people will try and create a better surrounding. And it is not due to their wants, but because of their needs. There should always be a consideration when it comes to choosing what is beneficial for emotional and mental health. Because if there is none, the individuals can already expect the worse to come in their lives. Determining what is best for one’s development is not hard, though the process is not simple. But regardless of that, no one should deprive themselves of having a better environment. That is especially when the growth of their personality gets dependent on it.

Physical Manifestations Of Depression: When Feelings Are No Longer Sadness

 

Just when you thought that what you’re feeling is just sadness, think again. Sometimes, people are so naïve about the multitude of signs and symptoms that they usually deny having depression. Depression is more than just the act of being sad; it is debilitating and can lead to radical outcomes like suicide.

“Clinical depression impacts every aspect of a person’s life. It generally doesn’t go away on its own, and it’s not the person’s fault,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

 

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How Depression Affects People

Somehow, depression is usually associated with people refusing to get out of bed, but the condition is profoundly complicated than just being lazy. Depression can severely interfere with a person’s musculoskeletal and digestive systems along with neurologic functioning. Sleep is mainly disrupted, and emotions are often triggered. There will also be “diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day,” according to Steve Bressert, Ph.D.

 

Signs and Symptoms

“There are gradients of depression — mild, moderate and severe — but it’s a serious condition that requires treatment,” says Margarita Tartakovsky, MS. To give you a more unobstructed view of what depression looks and feels like, here are the typical physical manifestations of the mental illness that you have to watch out for which you may not be familiar with.

 

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  1. Having Regular Headaches

Tension headaches usually feel like there’s a tight rubber band that’s squeezing around your head that’s continually throbbing and causing discomfort. This kind of problem happens because the head and neck muscles become strained. People who have depression often have tension headaches that occur intermittently. Therefore, if you are continually experiencing an unexplainable pulsating headache right around the forehead, it is a typical sign of an underlying mental disorder.

 

On the other hand, not all tension headaches are due to depression. Therefore, to have a more definite diagnosis of what you’re feeling, it is best to consult with your physician.

 

  1. Impaired Sleeping Pattern

Sleeping, whether too much or too little, is a primary sign and symptom of depression. Losing sleep happens when too much anxiety and stress bothers you that your mind cannot seem to stop contemplating on them even though it’s too worked up from digesting information. What’s worse is being able to get some sleep and then waking up in the middle of the night until morning. Depression and insomnia usually go hand-in-hand in having a profound outcome on a person.

 

Oversleeping, on the other hand, is usually due to the feeling of fatigue that cannot be dealt with by napping. This condition makes the person extremely sleepy for the rest of the day, and because of this, people tend to become anxious and lethargic with memory problems.

 

  1. Unhealthy Appetite

People who have no gusto whatsoever or are not feeling motivated even at the sight of mouthwatering food is said to have depression. Additionally, those who are always hungry and are craving for different varieties of food, mainly those high in saturated fats, can also be categorized as depressed individuals. Remember, depression symptoms can severely affect people’s appetite, and it’s different from one person to another.

 

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If you have been feeling these manifestations lately, along with other clinical signs and symptoms like having difficulty focusing on tasks, loss of interest in specific activities, and having thoughts of taking your life, seeking out a professional is advised. It is imperative that you get diagnosed whether you are suffering from depression or not so that you can get