Hey there Guys. Today is the World Health Organisation’s mental health day. Given the deadly nature of depression and that depression is very common I thought today is a chance to review the most common symptoms of depression.
In Australia about one in five people will suffer with depression during any one year. Sadly the symptoms of depression is often ignored with many people unaware of the symptoms of depression or unsure what to do if someone asks for help. Without treatment, depression can be very severe and even deadly. If someone comes to you asking for help, you are in a position where you can save a life. I urge you to take it seriously.
What are the symptoms of depression?
By far the most commons symtoms of depression are an unusually sad or low mood and loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that the person used to enjoy. We all have ups and downs in life, however in depression this low mood and lack of enjoyment is pervasive and can last for many weeks. Almost all of us have blue days; without treatment people with depression can be stuck in a low, flat mood for weeks or even months at a time.
Out of all the symptoms of depression, low mood and lack of enjoyment are considered two of the most important and most likely to be experienced during an episode of depression.
Other symptoms of depression can include:
- Low energy and motivation.
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt or shame.
- Difficulty with concentration or decision making.
- Sleep disruption. This can include difficulty falling asleep, early morning waking and difficulty going back to sleep, or in some cases almost no sleep at all.
- Feeling irritable, grumpy or unusually anxious.
- Changes in appetite with either weight loss or gain.
- Severe lethargy that limits people from activities such as exercise, daily activities and when severe even moving.
- Suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
If you ever have a friend or family member come to you and talk about symptoms like those mentioned above it’s vital that you take the time and be with that person. Talking about these issues is very difficult. The fact they have chosen to share this information with you shows they trust you and are reaching out for help.
But what do I do if someone tells me they think they are depressed?
If someone comes to you and tells you they think they are depressed, believe them. It’s ok, yes it’s uncomfortable to sit with, nobody wants to have a mate suffering but ignoring the problem doesn’t help.
Don’t ever tell someone to “suck it up”, “toughen up” or “take a teaspoon of cement”. If a person had a broken arm with a bone poking out you wouldn’t say that, so why do it because the illness is a mental one. People need your support at this time. Stay with them and offer them assistance in getting medical attention. Depression changes a person’s ability to think, they may need a hand to organise and get to a doctor’s appointment.
Any discussion about death, suicide, or thoughts of self harm is a medical emergency. Stay with the person and get them to a hospital for assessment. If you are not able to organise transport call an ambulance. If a person is agitated, aggressive or threatening, call the police immediately and ensure your safety. Talk gently and wait for the police to arrive.
Emergency numbers are: Australia: 000, UK: 999, USA: 911, New Zealand: 111, or 112 on mobiles and cell phones.
Thankfully emergencies like this are quite rare. Usually a visit to a family doctor or local mental health service will help a person get back in the right direction. Remember the symptoms of depression are very important. Action you take help and even might save a life. Don’t ignore the call.
Mental Health Resources:
Yours in good health.