Depression is a disorder of the brain which is linked to psychological, biological, genetic and environmental factors. Science has proven that the depressed brain behaves differently from a well and normal functioning brain. Trauma, whether physical or psychological, such as bereavement, the end of a relationship or severe stress can initiate the change in the brain functionality.
No matter what causes this change, what is crucial is that we are able to recognise the signs of depression and know who we can turn to for care.
Below we look at some of the most common signs to look out for.
Signs of Depression
1 – Aloofness
One of the first signs to be concerned about with a loved one is if they are retreating from company and are becoming reluctant to be in someone’s company. This can be things like regularly cancelling last minute or avoiding face to face contact.
2 – Loss of Interest
A big sign of depression can be a loss of interest in things that use to bring them joy, including loved ones or families or activities that they use to enjoy.
3 – Increase Alcohol or Drug Use
Dealing with life’s highs and lows can be difficult for anyone, but for someone with depression, it is nearly impossible at times. A way to escape is often alcohol or drugs. This is seen as a way of numbing the pain or trying to recreate a previously enjoyed feeling of happiness.
4 – Mood Swings
If someone suffering from depression has an imbalance in the brain it can lead to severe mood changes. An individual may go from appearing very happy to very low in a short period of time. This can include things like a person reacting angrily to something that they use to not be bothered about.
5 – Tiredness or Sleep Problems
A person suffering depression will take a lethargic approach to their responsibilities. They are battling an internal battle with their own mind, which is likely to be exhausting. This may manifest itself in the form of extreme tiredness and long periods in bed. Along with long periods in bed, someone with depression may suffer from sleep problems, which can drastically change the sleep pattern.
6 – Cognitive Issues
Someone with depression may struggle with cognitive functions. Concentration, memory and decision making can all suffer from a change in the brains chemical balance.
7 – Self Harm and Suicidal Thoughts
One of the most dangerous and worrying signs of depression is self-harm or suicidal thoughts. If someone is hurting themselves or talking about hurting themselves, it almost a given that they are suffering from a form of depression and should be seen by a doctor.
Who can help?
Watching your loved one suffering from depression or suspecting they might be can be hard. A feeling of helplessness is common. However, you can help. Talk to the person, support them to see a doctor. If they feel embarrassed about visiting a local family doctor, then you can speak to health professionals online. For example, GP at Hand is an app by doctors powered by Babylon on the app store. But most importantly just be there for the person and show them they are not alone in what they are going through.