Depression affects a large section of India’s population, yet it’s often misdiagnosed and/or misunderstood. Identifying depression at an early stage can help stop its progression and aid in quicker recovery.
Depression is a chronic mental ailment that needs immediate medical and psychiatric intervention. It is not quite easy to detect the signs of depression in many people suffering from it, especially during the early phase. This is the phase when it can easily be tackled and controlled, but often goes unnoticed and undetected till the person’s condition increases in severity.
Is there a thumb rule for detecting depression?
Though most of us would want to help a person suffering from depression, it is extremely difficult to know if they have depression in the first place. The symptoms can be easily ignored or misdiagnosed, sometimes even leading to complete isolation, chronic mental disorder, or even death due to suicide. It is thus very important that we find some means of detecting the early warning signs of depression, and help the sufferer get medical attention.
Keep an eye out for the following early warning signs of depression:
#1. Sadness coupled with a feeling of doom
Most often, the first warning signal that one can detect in a person suffering from depression is extreme sadness and a feeling of emptiness. They might not be interested in a happy event, or show disinterest in a thing or person which was a sure cause of joy before. Their talk might take a depressing twist, and melancholy substitute cheerfulness. They might tend to avoid company and stay aloof. Most often, the person suffering from depression will not openly admit to being depressed or having such feelings in the first place.
#2. Lacking Interest
If someone one you know suddenly looks disinterested in almost everything and doesn’t want to participate in discussions, it is a sure warning sign of depression. From a slow withdrawal to a sudden and more drastic isolation from everything the person loved, depression can have a huge impact and cause serious change in the attitude of the patient.
#3. Inability to Sleep
One requires psychiatric help if a person who is otherwise healthy shows sudden difficulty in sleeping and has a drastic change in their sleeping pattern. The person might get nightmares, and often wake up with a start. This might be due to some underlying issue bothering that person, if not a medical condition. Whatever the case, it is absolutely necessary to check for other warning signs and get medical attention to rule out depression. Some might turn to sedatives and alcohol to calm their senses and try getting sleep.
#4. Difficulty in Focusing and Concentrating
When a friend, family member, or acquaintance suddenly starts having episodes of “black outs”, and issues with concentration and focusing, it is a warning gong that shouldn’t be avoided. Depression is a mental condition that often presents itself with such symptoms signaling its early phase.
#5. Constant Lethargy and Loss of Energy
People suffering from depression often seem to be lethargic and out of energy. They seem to have slowed-down physical abilities. Often, these people complain of lack of sleep and rest, though they can be found lying down or resting alone most of the time. Some might even start neglecting self-grooming and daily responsibilities.
#6. Mood Swings
A person suffering from depression is often observed to have frequent mood swings and episodes of extreme anger, followed by guilt and remorse. This could signal a spiral towards depression and need immediate medical intervention and counseling.
A person suffering from depression needs a lot more than just love and support, and while there may be many people to support them, they might still get worse. In such cases, immediate counseling, medical intervention, and in some, medication to control and combat the effects of depression could be required. They can lead a normal life if the warning signs are detected early, and they are urged to seek help.