The Inside of Depression

Most of us have felt depressed or low at one point or another. Someone may have even asked us when we were younger if we were depressed. Even if we didn’t know what the word meant for the most part, we could make sense of how it felt. We suddenly felt like life was meaningless.

Feelings of pleasure in activities we once loved to partake in were replaced with feelings of exhaustion or sadness. Depression is the main cause of disability across the world. According to the World Health Organization, it can affect adults, adolescents, and even children.

What Exactly Is It?

Depression is a mood disorder that involves a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest in things. It is different than experiencing mood swings or fluctuations in feelings, because depression is more consistent than not. For example, major life events like grief, breakups, getting fired, failing a test, or losing a friendship can lead to depression. Doctors typically only consider these feelings as part of depression if they persist, though.

This is a problem that affects daily life. A single episode involves symptoms lasting at least two weeks — therefore depression can last weeks, months, years. In some cases where the diagnosis is chronic depression, you can experience a low-level grade depression for practically your entire life.

Signs to look out for :

  • Depressed mood
  • Reduced or lack of interest/pleasure in activities
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Slower movement and speech
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death and/or suicide attempts

Depression is nearly twice as common among women as it is in men, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms that commonly affect women include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Ruminating or dwelling on negative thoughts
  • Postpartum depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

About nine percent of men in the United States have feelings of depression or anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. Males with depression are more likely than females to drink alcohol in excess, display anger, and engage in risk-taking as a result of the disorder. Other symptoms males may experience include:

  • Avoiding families and social situations
  • Working without a break
  • Having difficulty keeping up with work and family responsibilities
  • Displaying abusive or controlling behavior in relationships

Another demographic that depression targets are college students. College can be stressful — you are unsure of how you are going to pay your bills, and you have to take a certain amount of units in school to get out faster.

This can be one of the most stressful periods of time for certain individuals. Some students have difficulty coping with these changes, and they may develop depression, anxiety, or both as a result of this time. Symptoms of depression within college students can include:

  • Difficulty concentrating on schoolwork
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Drug use
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Social anxiety and avoidance of social interactions

Teenagers, on the other hand, have more biological reasoning. Going through puberty and hormone changes can be strange and awkward. Symptoms of depressed teenagers can include:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Difficulty concentrating on schoolwork
  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless
  • Restlessness, such as inability to sit still

There are about 3.2 percent of children ranging from 3-17 that have been diagnosed as having depression. In children, symptoms can make schoolwork and social activities challenging. They may experience symptoms such as:

  • Crying
  • Low energy
  • Clinginess
  • Defiant behavior
  • Vocal outbursts

Younger children may have difficulty expressing how they feel in words. They have a harder time articulating what they are experiencing. This can make it not only more difficult, but more frustrating for them, since they feel like they can’t get out of it.

Depression can be caused by several things. There hasn’t been a singular event determined as what causes depression. Sometimes it is even triggered by an experience. Factors that play a huge role are:

  • Genetic
  • Changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels
  • Environmental factors
  • Psychological and social factors

Although depression can feel discouraging, there is ample treatment available today. Having a consistent therapist can offer you a lot of guidance and support. There are other support groups where people like you are struggling with the same thing. Depression doesn’t have to feel like it is beating you. There are a ton of avenues you can take to help yourself and get the care you need. At Life Tutors, you can start the recovery process and find renewed hope. We have a professional team that can help you rebuild your life and get it back on track. We work with clients as young as 17, and help families mend their relationships through coaching and various coping techniques. If you or someone you love is struggling, call 1-(828)-417-7122 today to access help and start the recovery process.