by Alek Sabin
According to the NIMH, over 7% of the population suffers from a major depressive episode every single year. Based on their estimates, over 350 million around the world suffer from depression. Because of this, depression is one of the leading causes of disability around the world, if not the number one cause. Because of this, it is important to get depression treated as soon as possible. Everybody has days where they are feeling sad and in the dumps, but depression is something that signifies a deeper, chemical problem. Here are some ways to tell if you are actually depressed, rather than just sad, and if that depression necessitates getting mental health treatment…
Your Health and Hygiene Lose Importance
Depression is a mental disorder that impacts your inspiration to do pretty much anything, whether that is a work project, or even getting up in the morning. Because of this, healthy habits tend to slip away when someone is suffering from deep depression. Individuals with depression have a hard time going to sleep at a reasonable time, and a hard time getting up and out of bed. Eating habits for people with depression also tend to be unhealthy, with people either starving themselves or binge eating everything they can get their hands on.
You Experience Thoughts of Suicide
One of the biggest indicators that what you are feeling is more than just a natural bout of reasonable sadness is if you have any thoughts of self harm. Depression is a very serious mental condition, and extreme cases of it can even be fatal if a person takes it upon themselves to commit suicide. At this point, it is incredibly important that the individual seeks out professional help to get them past this depressive episode. Different age groups tend to have different signs for suicide, but it is important to learn them and be on the look out if you or a loved one is slipping into this signifiers.
You Lose Passion for Things You Care About
Even if you are sad about something, you should be able to still get some pleasure or relaxation out of the things that you care about or enjoy doing. For example, people who are experiencing sadness should still be able to watch a movie or read a book to help give them some positive emotions, even if the sadness is still there. However, when a person is suffering from depression, they can’t move past their depression to get joy from the things they are passionate about, or even bring themselves to care about those things.
You Struggle With Substance Abuse
A common occurrence with mental illness is dual diagnosis, which is when there is a co-occurring substance abuse disorder with a mental disorder. Addiction and mental illness create a sort of codependency that creates a cycle of destructive behavior that is difficult to break. If you start to note that feelings of sadness are correlated with a rise in risky behavior with specific illicit substances, then it is important to seek psychiatric help to get an honest diagnosis.
You Don’t Experience Emotions
When you feel depression, it is more than just an overwhelming sadness. It is a blanket of hopelessness that covers your entire life, and makes it hard to feel any emotion at all beyond that bleak hopelessness. Because of this, depression cuts you off from the rest of your emotional spectrum, and makes it difficult to even feel alive, which is why it can be so soul crushing. If you can’t feel any sort of emotion at during your day, beyond a great deal of sadness, then it is a sign you might have clinical depression.
You Have a History of Traumatic Events
Depression can develop in people who have recently had a traumatic event occur to them, or had one happen in the past that still affects their life. In this way, PTSD and depression are co occurring mental disorders. If a traumatic event occurred recently and it is causing you to feel hopeless, it might be a sign of depression. Common reasons for this might be abuse, divorce, death of a loved one, or even something positive, such as the birth of a child.
NOTE: Understand That Sadness and Depression Naturally Occurring
It’s important to note that sadness is still a very natural emotion, and it isn’t something that should be looked down on. Depression and sadness are considerably different, because sadness is a reasonable emotional reaction that helps you work through difficult things that occur in life. Depression, on the other hand, is mainly chemical, and is an unhealthy hinderance on your emotional spectrum and thought process.