What Are Depression Symptoms?

Depression is a complex mental illness that can diminish your joy in life and make simple, everyday activities feel like a nearly insurmountable challenge. If you live with depression, you know it is more than a fleeting bad mood or a passing phase you can quickly overcome. When persistent, intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and emptiness are preventing you from living your life to the fullest, a health professional might diagnose you with clinical depression. Here is what you should know about this mood disorder and how to recognize it. 

Warning Signs of Depression

You might meet the DSM-5’s criteria for depression if you have many of these symptoms daily for at least two weeks. 

  • A loss of pleasure in previously enjoyable activities
  • Sleeping or eating more or less than usual
  • Fatigue, a lack of energy and bone-deep weariness that slow you down 
  • Trouble concentrating or making wise decisions
  • Persistent feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Frequent thoughts about death or suicide

Some people also experience physical signs of depression, such as unexplained aches and pains, digestive issues, changes in sleep patterns or a dramatic loss of appetite. You may also notice slowed speech and movement. These health issues relate to the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which affect your mood and also play a role in your body’s ability to feel pain. Many people report moderate to significant pain relief after starting a course of antidepressants. 

To receive an official medical diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must significantly impair your function in social, occupational or other areas. They also can’t result from another medical condition such as substance misuse.

Depression and Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s typical for depression to accompany other mental and physical health disorders, such as anxiety, substance abuse, cancer, heart disease and chronic pain. When this happens, health professionals call it a co-occurring disorder, and having both conditions addressed simultaneously is essential to learning how to manage your depression and regain your quality of life. 

Is There a Cure for Depression?

While your depression symptoms may wax and wane over time, depression will not spontaneously get better all by itself. There is also no known cure for depression, but that does not mean you should lose hope. 

Depression is a highly treatable condition that responds well to a combination of lifestyle changes, therapeutic approaches and prescription medications. With the appropriate support and a treatment plan structured to meet your needs, you can equip yourself with the tools you need to take control of your symptoms. 

When managing depression, even seemingly minor modifications can make a significant difference. For example, most people find it relatively easy to get more exercise, make time for self-care and add specific foods to their diet, and feel motivated to continue with these new health habits once they notice an improvement in their mood and energy levels. 

Focus on Your Well-Being

If you’re ready to reclaim your days from the mental weight of depression, Serene Behavioral Health can help you improve your mood and your overall well-being. Our team of clinically trained professionals offers various treatment modalities to meet your specific needs and preserve your mental health. We’re here for you when you need to talk to someone about seeking help. 

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