Depression can be hard to identify, as it is often linked to tiredness and forgetfulness and commonly thought of as healthy stress. While some good stress can help increase performance levels and encourage creativity, bad stress leads to a deterioration of mental health in the long run. Moreover, most of us don’t really understand what depression actually looks like. Some factors to take note when attempting to identify depression include low mood, loss of appetite, insomnia and fatigue, and poor memory.
This is possibly the most obvious sign of depression. Clinical psychologist Angel Adams says, “People with depression have a feeling of low self-esteem and unworthiness.” He adds that people who are depressed become more critical and judgmental about themselves, and are more irritable with others.
Loss of Appetite
While people with depression overeat, indulging in comfort food, they are more likely to lose their appetite. “They simply lose the will to eat,” Paul Salkovskis, professor of clinical psychology and applied science at Bath University says.
Insomnia and Fatigue
Many of those with depression tend to indicate disturbed sleep patterns. Some find themselves sleeping too much due to constant fatigue, but insomnia is more common. “It can be difficult to go to sleep, but typically with more severe depression it’s about early waking – people wake up around 4am and can’t go back to sleep,” Salkovskis says.
When you are depressed, memory becomes “over-general” and it can be difficult to recall details. “Imagine you have lost your job and have become severely depressed and then somebody says to you, “You need to get another job.” If you’re not depressed, you’ll think, ‘I should get my CV in order, I should register with a couple of agencies’ – your memory is giving you highly specific things to do. However, if you’re depressed, you’re thinking, ‘I’ve to get a job…umm…’ You can’t think beyond general. Depression then impairs problem-solving,” Salkovskis explains.
Other factors to look out for include loss of interest and enjoyment, decrease in libido, aches and pain and indecisiveness.
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