Learn the symptoms of depression to determine if you're more than just stressed

Stress is a part of life but many factors can trigger depression. Knowing the symptoms may help get you back on track.

Stress is a part of life, but major unexpected events, such as the loss of an entire year’s crop income due to a weather disaster can significantly increase stress. Sometimes, a very stressful event, or continuation of stressful events can cause physiological changes in the body. You can start feeling intense sadness including feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness. Everything, even the most minor thing can seem like a huge burden. This can last for days to weeks and longer and keep you from functioning normally.

According to the Stress, Anxiety and Resource Center, a series of questions about the symptoms and emotions you’re experiencing indicates if you are suffering depression.

  1. Do you feel sad, unhappy, and hopeless or otherwise “down in the dumps”?
  2. Do you feel very tired with little energy?
  3. Are you unable to concentrate?
  4. Do you feel moody, uneasy, restless or irritable?
  5. Do you have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep through the night?
  6. Have your eating patterns drastically changed?
  7. Are you unable to enjoy life and your daily activities?
  8. Have you lost interest in sex or are you experiencing sexual difficulties?
  9. Have you lost interest in things or activities that used to mean a lot to you?
  10. Do you have difficulty focusing and making decisions?
  11. Do you feel inadequate or like a failure?
  12. Do you feel guilty or put yourself down for no apparent reason?
  13. Do you feel hopeless or like things always go wrong for you no matter what you do or how hard you try?
  14. Do you feel empty inside, like you are not really alive?
  15. Do you feel confined or imprisoned?
  16. Have you entertained thoughts of suicide?

Depression affects your life and the lives of those around you. It can severely disrupt how you function, eat, sleep and get along with others. Depression can accompany the need to make very important business or personal decisions. The last thing someone needs when undergoing stress is to also have depression interfering with these decisions.

According to the Stress, Anxiety and Resource Center, if you have at least five of these symptoms you are encouraged to consult your medical doctor. Depression is a treatable medical condition. If you have ever suffered from depression and been successfully treated with one of the many medications available, you know that you can get better again.

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