No one has a perfect life; there are challenges, moments of sorrow, and bouts of stress for everyone, which is just a part of being human. If those times of sadness, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness persist seemingly without cause, it may be something more than just an occasional bad mood. The symptoms of depression include feelings of continual and overwhelming hopelessness that last for extended periods of time. The reasons that people become depressed are varied, but if it is true depression, it is important to get treatment. If you are asking – am I depressed? – the answer is not always so clear. However, there are some symptoms of depression that you can assess to see if you suffer from depression.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
The symptoms of depression are varied and many; according to the National Institute Of Mental Health, “not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms; some people suffer many. The severity of symptoms varies among individuals and also over time.” Most people report feelings of sadness, anxiety, moodiness, or feeling empty. A general sense of pessimism, guilt or worthless is common. Many individuals will lose interest in the things they used to find pleasure in, and have a decreased amount of energy. Depression can be accompanied by eating disorders such as binge eating or anorexia, and may cause weight loss or gain. Clinically depressed people often have an inability to focus and concentrate, leading to difficulty with daily activities and self-care. If left untreated, depression can lead to other, more serious health conditions and disabilities for the individual.
Depression is often misunderstood by both the individual and others in their lives. Many choose not to get the help they need thinking that their feelings will go away. Depression is not only a mental condition, it is a chemical one; chemical changes in the brain are responsible for the symptoms of depression. Often without medical intervention, overcoming depression is difficult, if at all possible. If you are experiencing one or several of the symptoms above, it is best to seek an evaluation to determine if treatment is necessary. There are many self-evaluation tests and quizzes that you can take online, such as the depression screening by Mental Health America, but it is always best to speak with a professional. Self-evaluation and monitoring are both good practices, but if you are having a hard time overcoming feelings of sadness, there is no shame in seeking help.
Possible Causes of Depression
The reason it is difficult to know if someone has clinical depression is because it can express itself in varying degrees, and at different stages in life. A misconception is that depression is always brought about by being sad, but that is a symptom of depression, not the cause. There are times when an incident can seem to bring on a depressive episode, but merely feeling sad is not what causes depression. Depression and anxiety stem from chemical changes in the brain. It is a disorder that is not just mental, but has a physical origin; a lack of serotonin in the brain results in a depressed mood.
Furthermore, according to the Mayo Clinic, depression can stem from a variety of factors including:
- Biological differences – Some individuals have a propensity for depression due to their brain chemistry.
- Hormones – Any changes in the balance of hormones in the body can attribute to depression. That is why depression is not uncommon during pregnancy, postpartum, or even during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- Inherited traits – There are certain components of depression that appear to be inherited. The expression of certain genes appears to predispose one to depression or increase the risk of it.
- Brain chemistry – Neurotransmitters in the brain appear to have a link to depression; responsible for mood stability, any alteration in their function can result in depressive symptoms.
If you are feeling sad or hopeless without cause, or for extended periods of time, it is always best to seek medical attention to rule out clinical depression and anxiety. If you have been diagnosed with depression, and have not had any success with depression medication, try deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS). This is a groundbreaking new, painless, yet highly-effective treatment that has been helpful in eliminating signs of depression. For those seeking Los Angeles depression treatments, Westside Neurotherapeutics can provide dTMS. For more information, contact the company by phone at 310.946.0008 or online at www.neurotherapeutics.com.