The biggest mental health issue in our society today is depression and anxiety. According to Beyond Blue, one in six people experiences depression in their lifetime and is the leading cause of non-fatal disability worldwide. Nearly three million Australians live with depression and/or anxiety, which affects their wellbeing, personal relationships, career and productivity (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
It’s not simple to identify depression and anxiety because even though they have some distinct symptoms, they can also overlap with each other. In reality though, they are way apart from one another and both of them can be devastating and can impact one’s regular way of work and family life adversely. In this article, we will be focusing on depression.
It’s important to know depression symptoms or what the signs of depression are, not only for you, but for your friends and family. Let’s take a closer look at depression and its symptoms. We’ll cover the signs and symptoms of anxiety in a separate article.
Depression is more than just having a low mood. For some people, the feeling of sadness and unhappiness may last for weeks, months or even years without any apparent reason. It affects how they think, how they feel and what they do. These feelings have an adverse effect on their health, both physically and mentally.
It's a serious and common condition that won’t get better by itself. If you have a broken arm, or a deep cut on your hand, you don’t expect that to heal without medical help. It’s the same with depression. Depression which is untreated is a high-risk factor for suicide and in Australia there are about 3,000 suicides each year. Beyond Blue research says that suicide is the leading cause of death in Australian males and females aged 15-44.
While depression is often associated with sadness and hopelessness, it also manifests itself in irritability and anger, unnecessary risk taking, and alcohol or drug abuse in men. If you can see one or more of these signs in someone you know, or are caring for, they may be signs of depression .
Signs of depression / Depression Symptoms can also include:
Feeling irritable, angry or violent: Irritability is a common sign and it affects the relationships of a person struggling with depression.
Change in appetite: Someone with depression may not eat enough to sustain energy levels throughout the day or they may overeat.
Feeling helpless or low self-esteem: If someone is starting to express extreme helplessness and self-loathing, they may be showing signs of depression / depression symptoms. This is not a mood they can simply be ‘talked out of’ but something more serious.
No interest in daily activities: People with depression may find it hard to get out of bed, go to work or face social activities.
There are a number of different types of disorders that fall under the general description of depression and it can be helpful to have an understanding of each of these types of disorders and their symptoms if you, or someone you know is displaying depression symptoms / signs of depression.
Mental agony can be hard on your health. People suffering from depression symptoms have three times the risk of experiencing a cardiac event. In fact, depression affects the entire body. It weakens the immune system, increasing vulnerability to viral infections and, over time, possibly even some kinds of cancer. Those suffering from depression symptoms also experience higher rates of diabetes and osteoporosis.
You can find comprehensive information on depression, the signs and depression symptoms, treatment and support as well as information on the causes and types of depression on the Beyond Blue website.
If you’re interested in helping those who are going through depression, you might like to consider pursuing a rewarding career in mental health or disability industries. Check out our mental health and disability programs at National College Australia