Depression overwhelms a person and isolates them, such that they feel they are the only ones struggling in the world. Luckily, depression can be diagnosed, and individuals can learn to manage and even beat it eventually. In this text, we have identified some of the signs of depression and some useful tips in managing the condition.
What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
Depression is characterized by some common symptoms, which last lengthy periods such as days, weeks, or months. We have identified some of the symptoms you can use to decide whether you might require professional help.
- A person might feel lost, empty, hopeless, and just unhappy in general;
- Insomnia and other changes in sleeping habits;
- Lack of interest in hobbies or activities one used to enjoy;
- Thinking less of yourself or feeling worthless, mostly based on overthinking past mistakes;
- Exhaustion and lack of energy for everyday tasks;
- Changes in appetite and eating habits leading to weight loss or gain;
- Attention problems and slowed thinking;
- Physical symptoms, such as muscle pain and headaches;
- Recurring thoughts about suicide or death.
Having a few of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have depression. Some of these would be symptoms of an underlying condition, so a professional diagnosis is essential. They are the common symptoms that people with depression experience. There are other signs of depression that people might experience that aren’t on this list.
How Can Depression Be Diagnosed
Reading about depression and its symptoms often leads to people self-diagnosing themselves as depressed. Having a professional diagnosis is necessary since it eliminates all doubts, and it is a significant first step in overcoming depression. Also, professional diagnosis helps you confirm what you might be suspecting and leads the road to recovery.
Professional diagnosis follows these steps:
- First, a physical exam that rules out any health conditions that might share the symptoms of depression. These include hormone-related symptoms or thyroid issues.
- Second, a psychological evaluation where the individual discusses their feelings, thoughts, symptoms, and behavioral patterns. Also, the timeframe for the symptoms is assessed.
- Third, DSM-5 diagnosis. Here, the professional uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to identify their patient’s depression symptoms. From there, they make a final diagnosis.
Dealing with Depression: Tips and Techniques
When struggling with depression, it is often challenging to tell about it to another person. Some people even find it difficult to open up to a professional about their symptoms. Others don’t have automatic access to mental health professionals to get the necessary help. So, here are some easy tips you might use to cope with depression until you get professional assistance.
Maintain Your Social Connections
Depression isolates a person and makes them want to withdraw from other people. Isolation is worse for one’s symptoms. So the first depression tip is to stay connected to people since it provides temporary relief from your symptoms. Make efforts to engage in group activities with friends as they offer a good distraction when you need it.
Do Things That Make You Happy
Happiness can’t be forced; however, you can try to keep up with the things that you enjoyed doing previously. Find things that helped you relax, such as meditating, exercising, taking walks, and even reading. You don’t have to enjoy them like you used to, but it helps keeps you and your mind engaged.
Enjoy the Sun for a Few Moments Everyday
Sunlight often improves a person’s mood. Go outside for a few minutes each day and bask in the sun; it helps reduce the feelings of depression.
Prioritize Your Physical Health
Physical fitness is useful in the journey to beat depression. Physical health problems will often induce feelings of anxiety and stress, which are bad for your depression. So, eat a nutritious diet, get enough sleep, and incorporate some exercise into your daily routine. For example, you can do some yoga or even schedule running sessions.
Challenge Your Negative Emotions
Individuals battling with depression often have to deal with many negative thoughts and unpleasant emotions. You need to challenge these emotions by first realizing that they are not an accurate representation of who you are and the life you’re living. Find yourself some positive moments you can focus on.
Enjoy Some Lighthearted and Funny Entertainment
A simple way to combat feelings of depression is by watching something funny or reading a lighthearted book. Anything that can make you laugh and forget about your grief for a little while. Being able to laugh and smile a few times a day can help you in the recovery process.
The above self-help tips are reliable as a temporary solution, but people should still get professional assistance. Professional assistance comes in two forms, depending on what the mental health specialist recommends. These are talk therapy and the use of medication.
Talk therapy involves managing depression by talking about the patient’s symptoms, experiences, emotions, and feelings. Prescription drugs are the second method, and here, the professionals prescribe certain antidepressants to alter your mood.
Depression is a challenge that no person should fight alone. So, seek out help from a therapist or a mental health professional you have access to, whether online or in your local area. Online therapy is recognized as a powerful tool for treating depression. There are different online platforms out there that provide full-time access to licensed therapists for people struggling with depression and other mental conditions.