Recognizing Depression

Recognizing Depression

To help you recognize depression, whether in yourself or someone you love or care for, here are six depression symptoms — some of which you might even find surprising — that you should never ignore:

Trouble Sleeping  Depressed people often lie awake at night, unable to sleep. On the other hand, some depressed people may find it difficult to get out of bed and may sleep for long periods during the day.

Loss of Interest in Favorite Activities Some people turn to hobbies they enjoy when they feel low, but people with major depression tend to avoid them. So if a person who loved spending time with her grandchildren suddenly doesn’t want to see them, or a guy who loves to play cricket suddenly hangs up his gloves and bat, it’s a red flag.

Increase in Energy Ironically, when depressed people have made a decision to do something drastic, such as killing themselves, they may go from being very lazy and slowed to more energetic. That’s because they feel a sense of relief in having come to a resolution, so if you notice a drastic switch like this, you should be very concerned.

Change in Appetite Some people overeat when they’re depressed or anxious, but in people with severe depression, the opposite is usually true. A depressed person may stop eating because he or she is no longer worried with physical well-being.

Touchiness In some people, depression manifests as more irritability and impatience than feeling down.

An Emerging Dark Side A person who is severely depressed may become preoccupied with death and other depressing topics. For example, he or she may talk about what things will be like “after I am gone and may also become more likely to take uncalculated risks.

The Next Step: Getting Help

If you notice any of these serious depression symptoms in yourself or someone you love, reach out and get help. In most people, depression, even major depression, is a very treatable disorder. There is a large range of medications and therapies that have been proven to work.

Specifically, here’s what you should do:

Assess the severity. If you or a loved one is considering harming himself or herself, or is having other dark thoughts, immediate treatment is critical. Go to the nearest emergency room or contact your local or a private mental health provider such as GIPS Hospital at +91 8448 108 108 Or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (+91) 022 2754 6669.

Create a safe environment. If the person expresses suicidal thoughts, remove any potentially lethal items from the home, such as a gun or sharp knives or dangerous items in the home or surroundings.

See a mental health professional. It doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist — it can also be a psychologist or therapist.

Be kind. Blaming or finding fault with depressed people for feeling low or unmotivated is not helpful and typically serves to reinforce negative feelings they already have. Instead, open the discussion in a nonjudgmental way and encourage the person to seek help.

Ignore the stigma. Depressed people who are suicidal are not killers. Suicidal thinking can be a depression symptom, but homicidal thinking is not.

Look to resources. There are many organizations that have online resources about depression. Visit the GIPS website at for more information.

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