Experts estimate that around 21 million people in the United States have had at least one depressive episode, making it one of the most common mental health issues. A person with depression may not recognize the symptoms in themselves, but often their loved ones can see them more clearly.
Most everyone experiences periods of feeling blue or down, but that’s not the same as depression. The highly trained experts at Apex Medical Center know the differences between feeling blue and depression — and we’re aware of how depression affects those around you. If someone you care about is behaving differently and you’re concerned, this post may help.
Symptoms of depression
Although feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or helplessness are common when you’re feeling down, one of the differences is that with depression, those feelings are overwhelming to the point of disrupting daily life. Other common symptoms of depression include:
- Lack of enjoyment in activities they normally enjoy, such as hobbies, or even normal activities such as sex
- Angry or irritable outbursts, or feelings of frustration, even over seemingly small things
- Changes in sleep habits, either sleeping much more or much less
- Changes in appetite, or unexplained weight gain or loss
- Fatigue, or feelings of exhaustion
- Fixating on past failures, feelings of uselessness
- Frequent mentions of death
- Unexplained physical ailments, like back pain or headaches
- Feelings of anxiety or restlessness
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
Often, the symptoms of depression are severe enough that they disrupt the person’s life. They may struggle to go to work or to function well while there. Relationships may suffer, and the person may find it difficult or even impossible to complete their normal daily obligations.
It can be quite difficult to be around someone with depression, even if you genuinely care for them. It’s frustrating to watch someone who is unable to control their symptoms and who is behaving much differently than they have in the past.
What you can do
It can be difficult to know what to do when you’re concerned someone you care about may be depressed. In too many instances, people are ashamed they may have a mental health problem, or they think the way they feel is normal.
One of the most important things you can do is to talk to them about what you’ve noticed and why it makes you worry. Reassure them that depression is a medical problem, and that treatments are available.
You may offer to help them by making appointments, or driving them to appointments. You might offer to help them make a list of questions to bring up with their provider.
What we can do
We offer numerous treatment approaches for patients with depression, and we have three locations, so visiting our offices is convenient. If you have questions about how to help your loved one, schedule a consultation. We’re happy to offer advice and to answer your questions.