5 Signs of Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Summary: Researchers provide a list of five things to look for that may signal depression.

Source: University of Colorado

It can be painful to watch a friend struggle with their mental health.

Here are some common symptoms of depression to watch for and ways to support a friend or loved one who is struggling.

1. Difficulty getting out of bed

It is completely normal to enjoy sleeping or spending time in bed. However, if it has become difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed or get ready in the morning, this can be a sign of depression. Depression can make us tired and physically drained to the point where even small tasks, like getting up in the morning or showering, can feel exhausting or difficult.

2. Sleeping habits

The physical and mental exhaustion that comes with depression can also affect our sleeping habits. Changes in sleep can appear in different ways. Sometimes this means sleeping all day, using sleep as a way to pass the time or preferring sleep to other daily activities.

Other times, sleep changes can cause bouts of insomnia, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Lacking quality, restful sleep can increase our anxiety levels and intensify feelings of distress. Sometimes this creates a cycle in which our anxious thoughts keep us awake and negatively affect our sleep, which then leads to more anxious thoughts.

3. Changes in appetite

Our appetite and eating habits can also be affected by depression. Some people may experience an increased appetite, while others may have less appetite or no hunger at all.

When you​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​changes in your sleeping habits, like the ones mentioned above, you may notice changes in the way you eat. This is because sleep helps regulate our hunger hormones, which help keep us from over or undereating.

4. Persistent irritation or mood swings

Depression can cause us to experience outbursts and mood swings. One minute we are angry, the next we are crying uncontrollably, or we shut down and go numb. Changes in our mood can switch in a moment’s notice.

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This shows a depressed looking woman
Depression can cause us to experience outbursts and mood swings. Image is in the public domain

Sometimes these changes can be triggered by small or insignificant challenges, and other times they can come completely unprovoked. If you​​​​​​​​are noticing a pattern of irritability or mood swings that last more than a few days, it may be linked to depression.

5. Difficulty experiencing joy or connection

When we are depressed, it can take all the joy out of the things we love and make it easier for us to connect with those closest to us. We may begin to lose interest in hobbies, friendships, school work, social activities, sex or life in general.

If we find that we no longer enjoy or enjoy the things we used to enjoy, this can be a sign of depression. We can also isolate ourselves from close friends, family members or others who care about us, which can perpetuate the symptoms of depression.

Notes: If you​​​​​​are currently experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is good to seek support. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline on 988.

About this news about depression research

Writer: Press Office
Source: University of Colorado
Contact: Press Office – University of Colorado
Image: The image is in the public domain