4 Signs You Might be Struggling with Depression
It’s natural to feel down or anxious from time to time. What’s not natural, however, is prolonged feelings of hopelessness and despair. When these emotions grab hold, and won’t let go, it is likely you may have depression. Depression makes every day a constant challenge. You no longer enjoy life as you once did. Just getting out of bed can feel overwhelming.
But, through education and counseling, you can overcome depression and get back to the life you were meant to live.
If you’re unsure of whether you are suffering from depression, read on to learn about 4 signs you might be struggling with depression.
Signs of Depression
How can you tell if you are depressed? It may seem like an odd question, but a surprising number of people do not recognize that they may be suffering from depression. While some signs are obvious, others can be subtle.
Every individual will manifest symptoms in a different way, so it’s important to recognize any changes in your behavior. With this in mind, here are four signs you might be struggling with depression.
Changes in Weight
Depression can affect individuals in different ways. Some people may find they have no appetite at all and, before long, lose a significant amount of weight. Others may find their desire for food increases and they easily gain weight.
Changes in Sleep Cycles
As with a person’s appetite, the changes to one’s sleep cycle can also go in one of two directions. You may notice you feel lethargic and want nothing more than to sleep all day. Then again, you may find you can’t fall asleep and are restless all night long.
Anger and Irritability
It has been said that depression is anger turned inward. If you suddenly find yourself with a short fuse, and things that used to not bother you now cause you to fly off the handle, it may be a sign you need some help.
Many people don’t realize that depression can manifest itself physically. It is common for sufferers to feel sick to their stomach with whole body aches. Some may find they seem to have a cold or flu that won’t go away, while others may notice their chronic conditions, such as arthritis, are exacerbated by depression.
It is important to recognize these signs so you may seek treatment as soon as possible. While depression may feel like a life sentence, reaching out for help will put you on the path toward joy and peace once again.
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How Is Biology Related to Depression?
Researchers have noted differences in the brains of people who have clinical depression compared with those who do not. For instance, the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that is vital to the storage of memories, appears to be smaller in some people with a history of depression than in those who’ve never been depressed. A smaller hippocampus has fewer serotonin receptors. Serotonin is one of many brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters that allow communication across circuits that connect the brain regions involved in processing emotions.
Scientists do not know why the hippocampus may be smaller in some people with depression. Some researchers have found that the stress hormone cortisol is produced in excess in depressed people. These investigators believe that cortisol has a toxic or “shrinking” effect on the development of the hippocampus. Some experts think depressed people may be simply born with a smaller hippocampus and are thus inclined to have depression. There are many other brain regions, and pathways between specific regions, thought to be involved with depression, and likely, no single brain structure or pathway fully accounts for clinical depression.