May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Know the Signs of Depression

According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression. This number has drastically increased since the pandemic hit, and people can’t help but wonder how the lockdowns have affected those numbers. What has social distancing, quarantines, disturbing social media/news, and perhaps extended periods spent indoors done to already depressed individuals? Why has it increased depression in healthy people?

While data may be slim, we can and should be on the lookout for signs of depression. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, here is a good source you can trust to help you understand what depression entails and the symptoms to look for in yourself and in others.

Common Types of Depression

Major Depression

Major depression is also known as clinical depression, and it is the most severe type of depression. Individuals with clinical depression are consistently sad and lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed. As a result, these individuals’ accomplishment of day-to-day activities becomes a problem.

Who is at Risk of Major Depression?

Clinical depression can affect anyone, including teens. However, women and girls are twice likely to suffer from this condition as males. Doctors have attributed this to physiological changes in their bodies, with hormonal changes being the major factors.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Women experience these changes during:

• Menstruation
• Puberty
• Pregnancy
• Miscarriage
• Menopause

Additionally, the societal settings and gender roles also increase the chances of developing major depression in women. For instance, career women are under a lot of pressure to balance family and work life, like raising a child and achieving their professional dreams.

Persistent Depression

This is a long-term, chronic form of depression. It results in hopelessness, self-esteem issues, and an overall feeling of being less worthy. This type of depression is less severe than major depression, although it can be hard to treat due to its chronic nature.

Persistent depression can be inherited, so it’s common in people whose relatives had such a condition.

What Are the General Symptoms of Depression?

Every individual exemplifies depression differently, but there are some symptoms that are common regardless of the type of depression one is battling. They include:

• Trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
• Reliance on alcohol or caffeine for happiness, energy, etc.
• Suicidal thoughts/thoughts of dying
• Feeling lonely or hopeless
• Sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings that won’t go away
• Easily frustrated, irritable, angered
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
• Withdrawal from others
• Losing interest and joy in things that used to be interesting or make one happy
• Restlessness
• Headaches, indigestion or stomach aches, tight muscles
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
• Fatigue, less energy
• Overeating, loss of appetite, and weight gain/weight loss

Tips for Getting Over Depression

If you think you’re battling depression, it’s important to contact professional service providers to pinpoint what is causing it before trying to self-treat. However, there are some things that are healthy to do in general that you can certainly try:

• Get exercise
• Eat healthy meals. The consumption of a high volume of sugary or processed meals takes a significant toll on your wellbeing. According to the findings of a 2019 study by Trusted Source, consuming a lot of these foods may adversely affect the mental health of young people.
• Get enough sleep (try to get 7-8 hours each night)
• Avoid alcohol
• Go outside daily (sunlight and fresh air are two of the cheapest mood-boosters)

If you or someone you love is showing signs of depression, make sure you get the help you need. Your mental health and well-being matter.