Depression affects more than 17 million Americans—each one differently. Symptoms range from feelings of hopelessness to unexplained aches and pains. As with many medical issues, early diagnosis is critical to recovery.
Most of us experience a wide range of emotions throughout our lifetime, including occasional stretches of sadness or despair. In most cases, happier times come along to replace our sorrows. However, if periods of darkness or hopelessness linger longer than usual, you could be experiencing depression. While you might feel helpless, depression is treatable. Recognizing depression’s symptoms is the first step toward getting the help you need.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common medical condition that negatively affects more than 17 million Americans. Frequently mistaken for sadness or grief, depression is more than just a case of the blues—it’s a severe and potentially debilitating illness that often causes emotional and physical health problems.
One person in 6 will experience depression at some point in life. Depression can affect anyone, but it’s more likely to afflict women than men. Symptoms can begin appearing, on average, during a person’s late teens to mid-twenties.
Although depression affects every person differently, here are some common symptoms that help indicate its presence. Symptoms can vary in both severity and longevity:
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
- Isolation and lost interest in activities
- Unexplained changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Loss of energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
In general, symptoms must be present for two weeks before doctors can make a proper diagnosis of depression.
Individuals battling other health issues frequently experience depression at the same time. Depression often coincides with conditions such as cancer, strokes, heart attacks, Parkinson’s disease, substance abuse, and diabetes. What’s more, symptoms of other illnesses can mimic those of depression, making an accurate diagnosis difficult.
Getting Help is Important
Depression is a treatable illness. Indeed, 80-90 percent of those with depression respond positively to treatment. However, without treatment, the condition can prove dangerous.
Someone with depression is four times more likely to suffer a heart attack. Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide among young people. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize when you have symptoms of depression, as well as when other people do.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of depression, or if you see signs that a family member or friend might be, seek help immediately.
Rescue has licensed professionals on staff that assess, treat, and support patients with depression. Call Rescue anytime at 419-255-3125.