The rising rates of depression across the world are extremely worrying. According to the World Health Organization, a massive 50 per cent of the 300 million people currently living with depression go untreated. This, even in the most developed and income generating countries. One of the prime reasons is that depression can be hard to recognise.

With countless people suffering under the shadows of depression, it becomes even more crucial to talk extensively about early warning signs and subtle symptoms that mostly get overlooked. Here are seven signs of depression you should never ignore:

1. Sleep pattern

The difficulty in experiencing a healthy sleeping pattern is one indicator of an early sign. Difficulty in getting sleep, the feeling of restlessness during the night, and the loss in urge to wake up in the morning are roadblocks for a peaceful mind. Insomnia is very common among depressed patients. Several cases suggest that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared to those who sleep well. Therefore, it’s important to pay heed to one’s sleep pattern.

2. Confusion and indecisiveness

The tendency to get confused at every step of the way, phenomenon of slow thinking, and repeated forgetfulness can prove to be subtle signs of depression. While it’s true that the inability to make decisions is a normal human trait, the replication of the same can prove to be worrisome. It’s important to be conscious of how one is functioning cognitively. Although one can be indecisive without being depressed, the sudden doubt over every small event can lead to hopelessness and thus a slow outbreak of depression.

3. Constant overthinking and stress

Excessive worrying and over-thinking 24/7 can cause low self-worth and self-esteem. Continual stress results in one getting stuck in a web of negative outlook and feedback towards oneself and people around. This constant dwelling is called depressive rumination. Occurring differently between individuals, this leads to persistent evaluation making a person pose several questions to oneself: “Why me?”, “Why do I feel so bad?”, “Why can’t I do this?” “Why can’t I get better?” “Why am I treated me that way?”, etc. Therefore, it’s necessary to calm oneself, and be mindful about the thin line between thinking and overthinking.  

4. Social withdrawal and expressiveness

If individuals, who have previously been excessively social, begin to pull back from activities and engagements, this calls for an alarm. Isolation and social withdrawal are highly common depressive symptoms. In the phase of depression, social isolation typically serves to worsen the illness and how one feels. Therefore, this symptom is one which can be recognised and treated on the priority basis.  

5. Loss of appetite

It’s common for depression to be linked with an increase or loss in appetite. This varies from one person to another. While some may begin to lose weight, some may gain it. While in certain situations many resort to completely avoiding food, others react by snacking throughout the day, especially on foods that are high in sugar and fat.

6. Falling health and pain

Depression can directly turn sensitivity to pain and ill health. In these cases, some unexplained physical ailments such as headaches, stomach or back pain surface. These can be early warning signs of poor mental health. The problem here is that some individuals may only see their doctors for vague physical pains and therefore never tend to get a diagnosis of depression.

7. Other varied symptoms

  • Temper

Extremely high temper without a valid reason also appears to be a huge sign of failing mental health. The constant snapping at a partner, co-workers, family and friend, or even strangers is a bothersome indicator. Over irritability or anger is a symptom for more than half of people experiencing more severe and longer-term depression. Also, uncharacteristic agitation is another sign, which can prevail in both adults and children. 

  • Social media addiction

Addiction to the screen, especially for social media updates, may seem like a normal thing in this age and time. However, this is a major downside when it comes to a restful mental space. Non-stop social media scrolling is a factor enabling undiagnosed depression. It’s a distractor that also gives one a little bit of a high. Considering today’s times, it’s visible how there’s a certain adrenaline rush every time one gets an update. It’s crucial for everyone to understand that drawing a limit to these habits can enable well-being and therefore levels of anxiety can be avoided.  

Young India is not shy to talk about their ordeals. However, there are still certain aspects that need to be addressed and talked about when it comes to handling depression and why we have such a problem when it comes to seeking help in times of emotional and mental distress. It’s the stigma around depression that still keeps so many from dealing with their problems. We are all so quick to judge and form opinions about those who suffer or behave differently. Let’s just pause and help one another because a conversation helps and so does kindness.

Also Read: #MeToo India: A therapist tells us about PTSD and Self-Care while reliving trauma

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