By: Caitlin Hatch
Mental Health Counselor
While it is normal to experience feelings of sadness or feel down from time to time, depression is much more than feeling sad or down. Depression is a mood disorder that affects people emotionally, physically, mentally, and behaviorally. Even though depression is common (the WHO estimates 3.8% of the global population experiences depression), there is still a stigma around mental health disorders, including depression. Unfortunately, this can lead to misinformation about mental health disorders, a lack of awareness of symptoms to pay attentions to, and not seeking help when experiencing depression. One way we can challenge the stigma around depression is to become informed of what depression is.
Understanding the symptoms of depression can be a helpful way to gain awareness of how depression might show up in ourselves and in others.
Symptoms of depression include:
● A persistent sad/low mood
● Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and shame
● Loss of interest or joy in activities
● Fatigue/ low energy
● Difficulty concentrating
● Insomnia or over-sleeping
● Changes in appetite
● Avoiding social activities/ isolation
● Physical aches and pains that are not caused by external factors
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are common symptoms of depression to be mindful of, especially if symptoms have been present for two weeks or longer. If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression and have noticed that it has negatively impacted your day-to-day life, it might be time to consider reaching out to a doctor or therapist to address your what you have been noticing.
Learning about the symptoms of depression is a great start to increasing awareness and addressing depression sooner rather than later. In becoming aware of depressive symptoms we are not only helping ourselves, but we are also helping others that might need support in addressing their depression.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357)