HEART Connection Center – Counseling – Symptoms of Depression

Top 10 Symptoms of Depression: Recognizing the Signs and Seeking Help for Depression

Are you suffering from depression?

You may have noticed that lately, you have been feeling sad or unhappy most of the time. Or maybe you have lost interest in doing the things you used to enjoy doing. You could have insomnia or be sleeping too much. You could also have changes in appetite, irritability, decreased sex drive, and feelings of hopelessness and or worthlessness and even suicide.

Here are the Top 10 Symptoms of Depression. The Mayo Clinic states that depression symptoms include:

1. Feelings of sadness or unhappiness

2. Irritability or frustration, even over small matters

3. Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities

4. Insomnia or excessive sleeping

5. Changes in appetite – depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss. But in some people, it causes

increased cravings for food and weight gain

6. Fatigue, tiredness, and loss of energy – even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort

7. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right

8. Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

9. Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

10. Crying spells for no apparent reason

Depression isn’t the same for everyone

According to the Mayo Clinic, for some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Depression affects each person in different ways, so symptoms caused by depression vary from person to person. Inherited traits, age, gender, and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect you.

If you are feeling depressed, you must talk to your doctor or a therapist. Do not try to get better on your own. You cannot force your way out of depression or make yourself happy again. Depression symptoms do not go away on their own and in some cases can get worse. According to the Mayo Clinic, untreated symptoms of depression can lead to other physical and mental health problems, and feelings of depression can lead to suicidal thoughts.

The good news is that depression is treatable and curable!

You won’t feel like this forever, and you have options as to how you would like to get help for your depression. Research studies show the most effective treatment is a combination of medication and therapy. However, if you are not ready to go the medication route, then you can go to therapy first. My recommendation is to try therapy first and if you don’t improve in 3-4 weeks than I often refer my clients to a psychiatrist or to their doctor for medication. I prefer a psychiatrist because they are medically trained specifically in the psychopharmacology and know the best, and most current treatment medications for mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Talk therapy is very important in treating depression.

Research studies show that Cognitive Therapy is most effective. Cognitive therapy helps a client identify what their negative thoughts are and how their thoughts can become distorted when they are depressed. Negative thoughts cause negative feelings making one who is depressed feel even more depressed. People learn how to catch these thoughts, identify the distortion and evaluate whether these thoughts are true or not. One important concept that you can learn is just because you think something doesn’t make it true.

The thought can be evaluated with specific tools and questions by asking yourself to either prove or disprove the thought and come up with a more balanced way of thinking. Not everything is black or white, good or bad, or as bad as imagined. Keeping a journal in therapy and learn how to do this at home is very helpful. You can become your own therapists and learn it is possible to retrain your brain!

Once you improve those negative thoughts, you can talk back to them and in turn improve your mood.

The other components of treatment for depression are part of a whole mind, body, spirit approach that I use with my clients to include mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, getting good sleep, exercise and nutrition. I feel that these are vital to the treatment of depression and as important as medication and Cognitive Therapy. I often recommend that my clients find one activity that they like to do for exercise whether it’s yoga, running or even Zumba! And to just get started doing it! Many clients who are depressed don’t feel motivated to exercise due to lack of energy and motivation. But what I teach them is that action precedes motivation, which means that once they start the new activity, the motivation will come.

I want you to know there is hope and help for depression. You don’t suffer through this alone. It takes courage to first recognize that you may have depression and then to take that first step to find help takes even more courage. But you can do it! I have helped many clients like you see the light again and find hope that they can feel better again. You deserve to feel better!  I want you to have more, more love, more joy, and more peace. Change is possible! If you have any questions, you can email me in the box below or you can call me at 561-542-2466 about your depression, I would be happy to talk to you about it and how I can help.