Depression manifests differently in every individual. However, certain signs and symptoms are generally associated with this increasingly common mental health condition. The first step in overcoming the challenges of depression is recognizing the symptoms and how they affect you.
Family medicine specialist and female physician Poonam Malhotra, MD, at Central Clinic follows a whole-patient approach to managing your health. Her customized treatment plans and preventive care strategies are structured to meet your lifestyle, schedule, and overall needs.
Because she believes your mental health is as important as your physical self, Dr. Malhotra is happy to share her professional insight regarding depression.
Read about six telltale signs of depression and how they affect your life.
1. Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
One of the most recognizable signs of depression is a pervasive feeling of sadness or emptiness.
That isn't the same as feeling down because of a bad day; it's relentless, overwhelming despair that doesn't go away and often doesn't have a direct cause.
You might find yourself feeling tearful or experiencing intense bouts of crying. Many people with depression try self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to overcome the sheer hopelessness they feel with depression.
2. Loss of interest
Another significant sign is a noticeable decrease in interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy. These include hobbies, social occasions, or time with loved ones.
If you once loved painting but can't muster the motivation to pick up a brush, don’t feel the joy gardening used to spark, or have no desire to meet your best friend for your weekly lunch date, it could be a sign of depression.
Many people with depression also lose interest in their personal appearance. You may find yourself skipping showers, forgoing trips to the hair salon, not bothering to brush your teeth, or not caring about the clothes you wear.
3. Changes in sleep patterns
Depression often affects sleep patterns. You might find yourself experiencing insomnia, having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning.
When you do sleep, it may be restless and unsatisfying, leaving you feeling exhausted the next day. Conversely, you might sleep much more than usual but still feel tired and listless.
4. Changes in appetite, weight, and other physical symptoms
Depression can significantly affect your appetite, leading to notable weight loss or gain. Some people may lose interest in food entirely; others might find comfort in eating more than usual.
Unfortunately, those comfort foods most of us reach for are often sugary, carb-laden, or deep-fried. This diet increases your risks of serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and other physical ailments that often contribute to depression.
Other physical symptoms associated with depression include headaches, back pain, stomach problems, and general aches and pains that don't have a clear physical cause and don't respond to the usual treatments.
5. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
If you constantly criticize yourself, feel guilty for things beyond your control, or consider yourself worthless, you may be experiencing depression.
For instance, you may feel responsible for “ruining” everyone’s day because you had to cancel a picnic because of rain.
6. Changes in mood and cognition
People with depression often describe feeling foggy and finding it hard to focus. For instance, you may have difficulty concentrating when emptying the dishwasher, remembering deadlines or appointments, or making simple decisions about what to order for dinner.
Although depression is generally associated with sadness, you may also develop irritability and anger with mood swings ranging from slight annoyance to rage, often over minor matters.
If you think you or a loved one is experiencing depression, reach out for help today. Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Malhotra at Central Clinic in Spring Hill, Florida. Call the office or request an appointment online.