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Recognizing Depression and its Symptoms

Updated on February 23, 2016

Depression Definition

Depression is a a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way. Many times, people suffering with depression live with it so long that eventually their thoughts trail off to the dark side. Sufferers are often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. The majority of people older than 50 believe that depression is exaggerated and is a result of lack of discipline from a young age. We can change the society's mind and the horrid effects of the lives that are taken every day.

Mental Health Facts

According to National Alliance of Mental Health in America, 60% of adults with mental illness didn't receive mental health services in the previous year and nearly 50% of youth aged 8-15 didn't receive mental health services in the previous year.

6.9% (16 million) of American adults live with mayor depression and the reasoning behind the large number of non treated sufferers is that mental health services are not readily available.

1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental condition and Suicide in ages 10-24 is the 2nd leading cause of death among that age group.

African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about 1/2 the rate of Whites in the past year and Asian Americans at about 1/3 the rate.

24% of state prisoners have a recent history of mental health conditions and 26% of the homeless population living in shelters live with a serious mental illness.

Did you know...

-Women are more likely to develop depression then men. In almost all studies, women have a higher prevalence, incidence and morbidity associated with depressive disorders compared with men. The gender difference is likely to be due to a complex interaction between biological, psychological and socio-cultural vulnerabilities.

-Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

Young adult statistic
Young adult statistic


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Signs and Symptoms

If you or someone you know experiences the following symptoms, please seek help.

-Feeling sad or withdrawn

-Crying regularly

-Feeling fatigued

-Experiencing unexplained aches or pains

-Feeling unmotivated and losing interest in favorite activities

-Experience severe mood swings

-Repeated use of drugs or alcohol

-Drastic changes in behavior and personality

-Changes in sleep habits

-Difficulty in concentration

-Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities

-Sudden overwhelming fears for no apparent reason accompanied by physical discomfort

-Extreme irritability over minor things

-Change in diet and significant weight loss or gain

-Risk taking behavior that may harm self or others

-Trying to or making plans to harm self or others

Many of these signs are signs of other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dysthymic disorder etc.

It is important to get treated as soon as any of these signs are apparent.

Risk Factors

There is no single reason a person may feel depressed. Each person is different and tolerates mental and physical pain differently. Brain chemistry, hormones and genetics may play a significant role. Other risk factors include

Low self-esteem


Social standing

Home life

Difficulties at School

Poor nutrition

Alcohol and drug abuse

Illness/ Disease

Physical or mental abuse

Difficulties at work

Family history

And many more.


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Tips from Dr. Pallavi A Josh

Importance of moral support

Experiencing depression in an environment that does not support you or believes that depression is taboo can be challenging. Being open about your struggle can help bring light to the situation and even help your family and friends understand the importance of treatment and support. Another good tip in helping your family and friends understand is to have Science on your side. If the non-believers are more likely to believe a doctor than you, get a doctor; look for positive quotes about depression from politicians or parties that they follow; and if they look to religious leaders for guidance, cite them.

If you know someone who is suffering there are steps you can take to help. Please encourage the person to get help. Sometimes, all they need is a push in the right direction from someone they trust. Be a good friend and listen. Try to be as supportive as you can even if you don't understand the condition entirely. Always stay in touch and check on them regularly. Affirm the persons strength. Sometimes, knowing that someone loves you and believes in you is more helpful then a bottle of pills. Please, always take any comments about suicide seriously. If the person has been talking about suicide, death in general or "going away" don't feel helpless. You are not betraying your friend by getting them help. You can and should call your local 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE. Don't second guess yourself and wait for them to get better because then may be too late. Help create aware and supportive environments. Talk to your and your friends family. Help them understand what the person may be going through. Every kind word and action helps.

Simple and effective treatment methods.
Simple and effective treatment methods. | Source

Getting better is a phone call away

If you are suffering, you know too well that life is passing you by and you have no will to make the best of it. Please know that you are not alone and that help is just around the corner. Take the steps necessary to better your life now.

First step to getting better is to make an appointment with your local psychologist, psychiatrist, or other therapist that can evaluate and diagnose depression and create a plan to treat it.

There are numerous forums online where you can chat with professionals who can offer insight to your condition and who can help you figure out the next step to a better life. You can always call the toll free number 1-800-SUICIDE. Local and national suicide hotlines or crisis centers offer guidance and support in an emergency. They are staffed by trained professionals who can help you without ever knowing your name or seeing your face.

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    • profile image

      Krupic 2 years ago

      Very informative and I depth.

    • ElvisaM profile image

      Elvisa M 2 years ago from Saint Louis

      Michaela, you are absolutely correct. If this Hub of mine reaches even one person suffering, that would be the ultimate goal.

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 2 years ago from USA

      This is a really informative hub and I hope lots of people see and read it. More people need to understand depression and that will only happen when it becomes okay to talk openly with people about it and how it affects us.