what does depression look like

What Does Depression Look Like?

We have all seen movies about the madman and their crime spree, with the underlying cause of mental illness. We sometimes even joke about people being crazy or nuts, even though we know we shouldn’t. 

A mental illness can be defined as a health condition that changes a person’s way of thinking, feelings, behaviors, or all three and causes distress and difficulty in functioning. Like other diseases, mental illness is severe in some cases and mild in others. Individuals with mental illness don’t necessarily look sick, especially if their illness is mild. Other people may show more explicit symptoms such as confusion, agitation, or withdrawal. Other mental illnesses include depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each illness changes someone’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 

self diagnosed depression
Source: Roots TMS

What Is Depression?

Depression (clinical depression or major depressive disorder) is a common but serious mood disorder. It affects how you think, feel, and handle daily activities, like eating, sleeping, or working.

If diagnosed with depression, the symptoms should have been present for at least two weeks.

There are different types of depression, some of which develop due to specific circumstances.

  • Major depression, which includes symptoms of depression for at least two weeks, typically interferes with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, and eat.
  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) often includes less severe symptoms of depression that last much longer, typically for at least two years.
  • Perinatal depression occurs when a woman experiences significant depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression).
  • Seasonal affective disorder comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in late fall and early winter and going away during spring and summer.
  • Depression with symptoms of psychosis is a severe form of depression where a person experiences psychosis symptoms, such as delusions (disturbing, false fixed beliefs) or hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that others do not see or hear).
how to know if i have depression
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People with bipolar disorder– formerly called manic depression or manic-depressive illness, also experience depressive episodes, in which they feel sad, indifferent, or hopeless, combined with a deficient activity level. But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences manic episodes or unusually elevated moods in which the individual might feel very happy, irritable, or “up,” with a marked increase in activity level.

Examples of other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Depression?

Aching Muscles and Joints

When you live with ongoing pain, it can raise your risk of depression.

Depression may also lead to pain because the two conditions share chemical messengers in the brain. People who are depressed are three times more likely to experience chronic pain.

Agitated and Restless

Sleep problems or other depression symptoms can make you feel this way. Men are more likely than women to be irritable when they’re depressed.

Back Pains

People who are depressed may be four times more likely to get intense, disabling neck or back pain.

Changes in Appetite or Weight

Some people feel less hungry when they get depressed. Others can’t stop eating. The result can be weight gain or loss, along with a lack of energy.

Depression has been linked to eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating.

Chest Pain

It can be a sign of heart, lung, or stomach problems, so see your doctor to rule out those causes. Sometimes, though, it’s a symptom of depression.

Depression can also raise your risk of heart disease. People who’ve had heart attacks are more likely to be depressed.

diagnosed depression
Source: Roots TMS

Digestive Problems

Our brains and digestive systems are strongly connected, which is why many of us get stomach aches or nausea when stressed or worried.

Depression can get you in your gut, causing nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation.

Exercise

Research suggests that exercising regularly releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good, improve your mood, and reduce your sensitivity to pain.

Although physical activity alone won’t cure depression, it can help ease it over the long term.

If you’re depressed, it can sometimes be hard to get the energy to exercise. But remember that it can ease fatigue and help you sleep better.

Fatigue and Exhaustion

If you feel so tired that you don’t have the energy for everyday tasks — even when you sleep or rest a lot — it may be a sign that you’re depressed. Depression and fatigue, when combined, tend to make both conditions feel worse.

Headaches

One study shows that people with major depression are three times more likely to have migraines, and people with migraines are five times more likely to get depressed.

Sexual Problems

If you’re depressed, you might lose your interest in sex. Some prescription drugs that treat depression can also take away your drive and affect your performance. Talk to your doctor about your medicine options.

Sleep Problems

Depression can affect your body as well as your mind. Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is common in people who are depressed. But some may find that they get too much shut-eye.

depression and sleeping problems
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What Are The Psychological Symptoms Of Depression?

Here is a list of psychological symptoms of depression:

  • Sadness and low mood
  • Hopelessness and helplessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Tearful
  • Guilt-ridden
  • Irritable and intolerant of others
  • Unmotivated or uninterested in things
  • Too indecisive 
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Too anxious or worried
  • Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm

What Can I Do To Help Someone With Depression?

Feeling down or depressed from time to time is normal. But if these feelings last two weeks or more or start affecting your everyday life, this can signify depression.

Depression can develop slowly. Someone who’s depressed does not always realize or acknowledge that they’re not feeling or behaving as they usually do.

Often it’s a partner, family member, or carer who first realizes that help’s needed. They may encourage their friend or relative to see a GP or find some other source of support.

Tips to Help Someone Who Seems Down

  • Let them know you care and are there to listen.
  • Accept them as they are without judging them.
  • Encourage them to help themselves – for example, by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet, and doing things they enjoy.
  • Get information about the services available, such as psychological therapy services (IAPT) or depression support groups in their area.
  • Stay in touch with them by messaging, phoning, or meeting for coffee. People who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to leave their homes.
  • Try to be patient.
  • Take care of yourself.

Depression is a journey a lot of people go through. Don’t let it stop you from doing what you love and being with people important to you. Roots TMS is here to help you get better and start over. Give us a call when you have decided that you need help with the journey you are in.

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