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10 warning signs that you may be depressed

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.

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There are some signs – symptoms – that can point to you, or someone around you, being depressed. Depression is so common that you have probably had it once before or know someone who has. Identifying these warning signs can make all the difference and ensure you get professional help early.

1) Low mood

This is often described as feeling sad or unhappy. You may also cry a lot sometimes without an obvious cause. It is a major symptom of depression.

2) Loss of interest or pleasure, reduced sexual drive

Losing interest in things or activities or hobbies you previously enjoyed is another major symptom of depression. You may find that you are unable to find pleasure in your usual stuff.

3) Unusual weight loss or weight gain

When depressed, you may lose weight without meaning to. You may also find that you do not have appetite. Rarely, your appetite may be increased instead and you add weight.

4) Problems with sleep

You may notice that you are unable to fall asleep, stay asleep or you sleep more during the day despite sleeping well the night before.

5) Guilt

Sometimes in depression, you may blame yourself for things out of your control. These thoughts may get so bad that you feel shame and consider harming yourself.

6) Tiredness

This can be a loss of energy that results in problems with concentration and unusual sleepiness. You may find that you can no longer participate actively in things you once did.

7) Being sluggish

Depression can affect your behaviour, making you slow to respond, speak or move. It can also make you unable to think, focus or make decisions as if there is a heavy curtain on your brain. On the other hand, it may cause you to be agitated or restless.

8) Thinking about death a lot

When depressed, you may begin to think about death frequently, as well as suicide. This does not necessarily mean that you have an elaborate suicide plan. Many people who commit suicide do not really intend to.

9) Hallucination

Sometimes, you may hear a voice(s) no one else can hear. It may tell you ugly things about yourself or ask you to do things.

10) Suicide attempt

The most painful of all these warning signs is suicide. This may be attempted through several means. If you have attempted suicide, you will certainly need therapy. Hence, the need to get medical help as soon as possible.

 

Other important things are considered by medical professionals before making a diagnosis of depression, such as, whether you have had these symptoms for 2 weeks or more, whether your daily activities have been affected, and whether there is a trigger or not. Abusing dangerous substances can lead to depression or its counterpart, bipolar disease. Some medications may also cause depression just as having an illness can. It is also important to note if it is related to pregnancy or thyroid problems.

Having depression is not the end of the world. With therapy, you can climb out of the dark pit into blinding sunlight.

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Have you ever experienced depression? Or attempted suicide? Or have you ever considered harming yourself? Tell us all about it.

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo