Depression is an epidemic affecting millions of people across the country. While some individuals suffer from chronic depression, other people’s situations are based on a recent event, their environment, or other underlying conditions. Regardless of the cause of someone’s depression, they likely need help to both recognize and treat the disorder. But what if the person suffering isn’t you? It’s important to know and recognize the signs of depression so that you can help a friend or family member in need. Here are 5 signs that someone in your life may be depressed and may need your help.
- Lack of Interest in Things They Enjoy
Finding pleasure and happiness in everyday things is part of life’s greatest joys. Noticing the beautiful weather, laughing and visiting with friends, or taking part in social activities are all healthy parts of a balanced and fulfilling life. For those suffering from depression, finding joy in the things they once loved can be difficult. Has your loved one recently stopped going to the gym, cooking, or hiking? Do they decline invitations to social gatherings and avoid being around people? Isolation and lack of interest in friends and activities they once loved are tell-tale signs that someone is suffering from depression. Depressed people often become withdrawn from the outside. Take notice of changes in their behavior and when possible, encourage them to continue doing the things they love and being social. Don’t be surprised if you’re met with resistance.
- Difficulty Sleeping
A long list of underlying sources can cause sleep disturbances including stress, certain medications, drug abuse, poor diet, and nicotine. If these are the causes of a person’s sleep disturbance, certain treatments can help correct the problem including a change in diet and work habits. If the sleep disturbance is related to drug or alcohol abuse, a heroin detox or other rehabilitation facility might be the answer. But sleep disturbances are also a sign of depression. And this doesn’t always mean the inability to fall asleep. Some people’s unhealthy sleep patterns include waking during the night or feeling overly fatigued during the day. Sometimes, a depressed person adopts a nontraditional sleep schedule where they sleep during the day and are awake all night. While this works for some people and could be a side effect of shiftwork, it can also be a sign that something more serious is going on.
- Change in Mood
Irritability, defensiveness, and unexplained anger are all signs of depression. Other mood swings include sadness, which can lead to suicidal thoughts. Everyone has a bad day where they might be unusually cranky or moody. But if your friend or loved one was once a happy, carefree person and is now always on edge and seemingly irritated, it could be a sign of depression. The source of this anger is the fact that most depressed people struggle to get through each day. Tasks and challenges are more difficult for them than they once were and some obstacles may even seem insurmountable. Not being able to perform to their best ability can become very frustrating. Just try not to take their outbursts and anger personally. More times than not, their mood swings are misdirected.
- Speaking Negatively About Themselves and Situations
Along with mood swings comes negativity. Many depressed people with speak negatively about themselves, others, and most situations. They struggle to see the bright side of things and put a positive spin on things. Instead, they see everything as terrible. They project their negativity onto most situations and others. These negative thoughts can sometimes morph into suicidal thoughts. If your loved one indicates they’ve considered taking their own life, you need to take immediate action. Some signs of this include talk of the world being a better place without them, selling or giving away valuables, or writing down dark thoughts related to their own death.
- Lack of Confidence
It’s difficult for a depressed person to feel good about themselves. Often times, negative thoughts about the future and their surroundings are internalized. Depressed people don’t feel they’re worthy of love and positivity. It’s these feelings of worthlessness that lead to suicidal thoughts and a desire to withdraw from others. If your friend or loved one was once extremely confident and positive, but start to put themselves down or stop talking about their plans for the future, as if they don’t have one, they might be suffering from depression.
When someone is in a cloud of depression, they can’t see straight or think logically. They need you, their closest friends and family, to recognize the warning signs and offer the help they may not realize they need.
Article Submitted By Community Writer