15 Early Depression Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Henna Geronimo
May 26, 2023

Are you feeling down or experiencing changes in your physical and emotional well-being? If so, you need to pay attention to these early depression symptoms as they may be signs of a more serious issue.

Depression is a mental illness that impacts millions of people worldwide. But the good news is that it can be treated with early intervention.

One treatment option that has shown promise in recent years is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy. But before we dive into this approach, let's first explore the common early signs of depression.

tms therapy
Source: Roots Mental Wellness

What are the First Few Signs of Depression

Depression can manifest in different ways, making it difficult to identify. That said, it is essential not to disregard the commonly experienced warning signs to promote early intervention. Here are some of them:

  • Mood changes: feeling sad, empty, or hopeless for prolonged periods.
  • Appetite changes: experiencing a significant increase or decrease in appetite unrelated to a physical condition.
  • Sleep disturbances: experiencing insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Fatigue or lack of energy: feeling tired even after a good night's sleep.
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Negative thinking: persistent negative thoughts and self-criticism.
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Physical symptoms: experiencing headaches, body aches, digestive problems, or physical agitation.

How Early Can You Get Depression?

Depression is a condition that affects people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how early one can get depression, as symptoms can vary widely from person to person. However, research has shown that depression can occur at any age, even early childhood.

According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 3.2 million U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (13%) reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

It usually results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and biological factors. Some risk factors for depression include family history, chronic stress or trauma, substance abuse, and chronic health problems.

In managing depression, professionals use various approaches, including psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications. Additionally, certain complementary treatments, like hirudo therapy, used in pain management, may indirectly aid in alleviating depression by reducing pain levels and improving an individual's overall well-being.

depression young adults
Source: Pexels.com

Physical Early Depression Symptoms

Physical symptoms can be one of the first indications of depression in young adults. These may include:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy: feeling exhausted, even after getting enough sleep.
  • Changes in weight: experiencing significant weight gain or loss.
  • Sleep disturbances: experiencing insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Headaches, body aches, or digestive problems: feeling physically unwell for no apparent reason.
  • Physical agitation or restlessness: experiencing difficulty sitting still or feeling physically agitated.

Cognitive And Emotional Early Depression Symptoms

Depression can also affect cognitive and emotional functioning. Some of the mental and emotional symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety, or empty mood: feeling sad or anxious for prolonged periods.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness: feeling like things will never improve or that you are not valuable.
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things: experiencing brain fog or difficulty focusing.
  • Negative thinking, self-criticism, or self-blame: engaging in negative self-talk or feeling excessively self-critical.
  • Thoughts of suicide or death: experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life.

Behavioral Early Depression Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms can also indicate early depression. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or social activities: isolating oneself from others or avoiding social situations.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies: losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Irritability, agitation, or restlessness: experiencing increased irritability or agitation.
  • Slowed movements or speech: speaking or moving slower than usual.
  • Increase in substance use (alcohol or drugs): using substances to cope with depression.

It's easy to attribute these symptoms to other factors, such as a hectic schedule or work-related stress, but if they persist for a long period, you must seek professional help right away. These may lead to severe mental health issues if left untreated.

Source: Roots Mental Wellness

TMS Therapy: A Treatment Option For Depression

While medication and therapy are often the first-line treatments for depression, they may not work for everyone. In these cases, TMS therapy may be a viable alternative.

It is a non-invasive technique that utilizes magnetic fields to trigger nerve cells in the brain. During sessions, the patient sits in a comfortable chair while a technician places a magnetic coil on their head. The coil sends magnetic pulses to the areas of the brain that regulate mood, which can help reduce symptoms of depression.

Recent research has shown that this therapy can be an effective treatment option for depression, particularly in cases where other treatments have failed. 

Studies show that it can be an effective option for those who haven't responded to other treatments for depression. In fact, around 50-60% of people who have tried medications without success experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS. 

how early can you get depression
Source: Pexels.com

Depression can have severe consequences if left untreated. While medication and therapy are often effective treatments, they don't work for everyone. That's why it's essential to recognize the early signs of depression and seek alternative treatment if you're experiencing symptoms.

Remember, depression is treatable, and with the right help, you can start feeling better and return to enjoying life.

If someone you know is experiencing early signs of depression, don't hesitate to seek help. Reach out to Roots Mental Wellness for comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options, including TMS therapy. Contact us to learn more and take the first step toward healing.

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Henna Geronimo