Depression is one of the most common of all mental health issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are about 121 million people suffering from depression around the globe right now. And while it’s one of the easiest mental health disorders to treat, many people suffer from the condition without any sort of treatment whatsoever.
The Symptoms of Depression
You should contact a qualified mental health professional if you’re experiencing five or more of the following symptoms:
- A feeling of sadness, anxiety or emptiness.
- A change in sleeping habits.
- A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.
- A feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness.
- Increased appetite and weight gain.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss.
- Deep fatigue and energy loss.
- Persistent physical ailments.
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering.
- Thoughts of death and suicide (which should be reported immediately).
Causes of Depression
There are many reasons why a person may become depressed. Some of the most likely reasons are:
- Biological- Many people who suffer from depression have improper amounts of certain brain chemicals that cause them to feel depressed.
- Medication- Prescription or over the counter medications come with a long list of side effects, including depressed mood.
- Situational- Individuals who have never experienced depression in their life may be at risk following difficult life events like divorce or death of a loved one.
- Gender- It’s estimated that women are twice as likely as men to become clinically depressed. While we don’t know exactly why, it may be related to hormones or stress.
- Genetic- If you have a family history of clinical depression then your chances of eventually developing the illness increases.
- Cognitive- Individuals who have low self-esteem or who struggle with negative thoughts are more likely to be depressed.
- Co-occurrence- Depression frequently accompanies other conditions like diabetes, cancer, or autoimmune disease.
Phrases to Avoid
If you have a loved one with depression, it can be hard to know what to say. In general, it’s suggested that you just let the person know that you’re there for them and ask what you can do to help. Whatever you do, try to avoid the following phrases at all costs:
- “It’s all in your head.”
- “I know just how you feel.”
- “Cheer up and put on a smile.”
- “You’ve got it so good.”
- “There are people who have it much worse than you do.”
If you really want to help someone with depression, remember that even the most innocent of remarks can be misinterpreted by someone who’s not feeling their best. Instead, ask your loved one how you can help them through this time.
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