What is Major Depressive Disorder?
Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting adults in the United States. For some people, the disorder can interfere with their everyday lives and impact their abilities to carry out basic activities. One sign of the major depressive disorder is when a person experiences a loss of interest in something they once enjoyed for a period of two weeks or longer. A person with major depressive disorder remains depressed for an extended period and has at least four of the following symptoms:
- Sleep problems
- Loss of appetite or other eating issues
- Lack of energy
- Loss of concentration
- Problems with self-image or confidence
- Ongoing thoughts of death or suicide
While having only one or two of these symptoms may not be a cause for alarm, if you or someone you know suffers from four or more of these symptoms, you should consider seeking help from a mental health professional.
Five Warning Signs of Depression Everyone Should Know About
If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, there are a few signs that can help validate your concerns. Below, we detail five warning signs of depression.
- Unexplained Pain
Depression does not only affect a person’s mental health. It can also have a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being. For example, common warning signs of depression are the physical symptoms of unexplained aches and pains. A recent study on symptoms of depression shows that 69% of people who meet the criteria for a depression diagnosis first visit their doctors for unexplained aches and pains. The most common complaints include joint pain, bloating, and backaches.
- Inability to Concentrate
Almost everyone experiences some brain fog and forgetfulness. However, people who live with depression often experience an extreme lack of focus. The lack of focus is often so bad that the person becomes unable to perform their everyday duties at work and home. There may be periods when the person makes more mistakes than usual or has trouble making decisions.
- Too Much or Too Little Sleep
Another warning sign of depression is not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep. It is important to note that sleep disorders, such as insomnia, do not cause depression. However, sleep disorders can play a significant role in mood fluctuations and instability.
- Changes in Appetite
Depression can have a significant impact on a person’s appetite. For some people, depression can cause them to eat more, while for other people, depression may cause a significant decrease in their appetites. Regardless of how depression affects a person’s appetite, a change in appetite is a symptom that can have a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being.
- Moodiness and Irritability
Just because someone has a snappy attitude does not mean that they are depressed. However, heightened or unexplained irritability is another sign of possible depression. If little things set off a person or the person gets agitated more often than usual, the person may suffer from depression.