Mental Health Archive

  • What is Parkison’s Disease and How to Detect It

    What is Parkison’s Disease and How to Detect It

    Parkison’s Disease (PD) is a disorder that affects your general body movement.

    The disease is caused by malfunction of certain brain cells known as neurons that are found in a brain part called substantia nigra.

    Normally, the neurons produce a chemical substance, dopamine, which is responsible for sending signals to other parts of your body leading to movement.

    When the neurons grow a problem, it means that less dopamine is produced and hence growing difficulties and losing body movement control.

    Parkison’s Disease is a progressive disease meaning that, as time goes by, it gets more worse.

    In most cases, PD affects older people from the age of 60, but in rare cases affects people below the age of 60 so anyone is prone to the disease.

    Research is ongoing to establish the possible causes of PD like environmental poisons and in some cases aging.

    Although some studies have shown that Parkison’s Disease might be hereditary, there is no proof confirm the same.

    Symptoms of Parkison’s

    There are four main motor symptoms of Parkison’s Disease.

    There are:

    • Tremors which include shaking of the hands, arms or the legs.
    • Slow movement which is also referred to as bradykinesia.
    • Stiffness of the limbs or the trunk.
    • Postural instability which makes the patient fall recurrently.

    Phases of Parkison’s Disease

    As mentioned before, Parkison’s Disease is progressive so here are the stages undergone by a PD patient.

    First Phase

    In this phase, the symptoms are not significant.

    The patient at this stage can be able to complete tasks and engage in activities normally because at this time the disease has affected only one side of the body.

    However, different facial expressions, walking and general body movements can be noticed.

    Second Phase

    The symptoms clearly start revealing themselves at this stage.

    They include stiffness, tremor and unusually unstable sitting postures.

    The Parkison’s has affected both sides of the body and hence completing tasks or engaging in daily activities is hard but the patient is able to move on their own.

    Third Phase

    The third phase is the middle phase as the disease continues to develop.

    At this juncture, falls are recurrent, movements are slow and balance is minimal.

    Consequently this affects how the patient carries out simple tasks for example eating on their own.

    Independence in terms if living on their own gradually begins to dwindle.

    Fourth Phase

    The patient is restrained as a result of severe symptom manifestation.

    Although standing on their own is still possible, living at this stage becomes fully dependent since one cannot walk on their own or do almost everything on their own.

    Fifth Phase

    This being the ultimate phase of the Parkison’s, the patient cannot do anything at all on their own.

    One is bedridden and requires a wheelchair for them to move around.

    All time nursing care is necessary at this stage.

    Prevention and Risk Reduction of Parkison’s Disease

    Despite the fact that the exact cause of the malfunction of the brain neurons is unknown yet, several researches have shown that there are a few ways that you can prevent, rather reduce the risks of being affected by the Parkison’s Disease.

    Some of the research has shown that regular intake of high fiber foods, fruits, vegetables and low intake of red meat or milk reduces the risks of Parkison’s Disease.

    Another research has shown that people who often take ibuprofen to fight inflammation have lower risks of Parkison’s as compared to those who don’t or take other drugs.

    Caffeine in coffee can also reduce the risk of Parkison’s Disease.

    The caffeine contains antioxidants that help prevent a PD condition.Research has also shown that vitamin D prevents you from Parkison’s.

    People with higher vitamin D supplements have less exposure to the risk as compared to those with low vitamin D supplements.

    Treatment

    1. Medication

    The kind of medication given to Parkison’s patients is mainly to increase the levels of dopamine or to perform its functions.

    These include reducing stiffness and the tremors and also stabilizing body balance and posture.

    2. Therapies

    Apart from medication, Parkison’s patients also undergo various therapies to manage the symptoms.

    These therapies include: Dietary therapies aimed at increasing fiber volumes,

    Physiotherapy aimed at relaxing muscles and increasing body movement and,

    Language and speech therapies.

    3. Surgery

    The most common surgical procedure done is the deep brain simulation which is done on a patient in the extreme stages of Parkison’s.

    The procedure is aimed at treating the impairing symptoms of Parkison’s.

  • How to Treat a Migraine Carefully

    How to Treat a Migraine Carefully

    A migraine can best be described as a moderate or extremely severe headache that may be felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.

    It is a fairly common health condition affecting at least one in every 15 men, and one in every five women.

    Essentially, there are various types of migraines, all of them depending on the warning signs received before the migraine begins.

    A person that experiences specific warning signs before the migraine commences such as flashing lights is said to have a migraine with aura.

    However, in most common cases, we have a migraine without aura whereby the migraine occurs without these specific warning signs.

    The exact cause of migraines remains unknown.

    However, they are thought to be as a result of abnormal activity in the brain that temporarily affects the nerve signals, blood vessels and chemicals within the brain.

    It is unclear what causes these changes in the brain activity, but chances are your genes can make you susceptible to migraines as a result of a specific trigger.

    These triggers may be hormonal, emotional, physical, dietary, environmental and in some cases, medical.

    The main symptom associated with migraines is an intense headache on one side of your head.

    The pain is usually a throbbing sensation that worsens every time you try to move, preventing you from performing your routine activities.

    In some cases, the pain may affect both sides of your head or your neck.

    Other symptoms attributed to migraines include nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to sound and light.

    Currently, there is not specific cure for migraines.

    However, there are a number of treatments that you can utilize to ease your symptoms.

    It may take you a while to work out the best treatment plan to follow.

    In most cases, the best remedy is a combination of various forms of treatments.

    Here are some of the treatment plans you can opt for.

    1. Painkillers

    Most people find that over-the-counter painkillers are adequate solutions for migraines as they can help relieve your pain.

    These painkillers are most effective if taken the moment you get a warning sign of a migraine attack.

    This prepares you for the attack, as it gives the painkillers time to get into your bloodstream and ease your pain.

    It is not advisable to wait for the headache to worsen before taking painkillers, as it is often too late for the medication to take effect.

    Soluble painkillers are the most preferred options since they are quickly absorbed into your body.

    However, if you are unable to swallow painkillers due to nausea, you can also opt for suppositories.

    2.Triptans

    If ordinary painkillers have failed you, it is advisable that you visit your physician.

    He or she may prescribe you a number of painkillers combined with a type of medication referred to as a triptan.

    Triptan medicines are painkillers that are migraine specific.

    They work by reversing the changes in the brain that may have caused the migraine.

    Essentially, they cause the blood vessels around the brain to contract, thus reversing the dilation of vessels, an integral part of the migraine process.

    They are available in the form of pills, injections and nasal sprays.

    They are however, associated with a number of side effects such as tingling, warm-sensations, tightness, flushing and feelings of heaviness in the face, chest or limbs.

    3. Anti-sickness Medicines

    Also commonly referred to as anti-emetics, these are a medications that are successful in treating migraines in some people even when they do not experience symptoms of nausea or vomiting.

    They are usually prescribed by a general practitioner and may be taken alongside triptans, painkillers or both.

    As with painkillers, this form of treatment works best if taken as soon as the symptoms are vivid.

    Their side effects include drowsiness and diarrhea.

    4. Acupuncture

    If medication is unsuitable, or fails to work, you may want to consider acupuncture.

    This is a ancient Chinese treatment in which fine needles are lodged at certain sites along the body for preventative and therapeutic purposes.

    The needles stimulate sensory nerves under the skin, thus providing relief from pain.

    If the treatments discussed above fail to control your migraine, then your best bet is to see a specialist.

    Your general practitioner can recommend you a specialist migraine clinic where you will receive further treatment.

  • How to Tell if Someone is Depressed

    HOW TO TELL IF SOMEONE IS DEPRESSED

    Depression is a weakening mood disorder that changes how someone feels,functions and thinks.It is more than just sadness in response to setbacks and life struggles.

    Some view depression as possessing a feel of impending doom while others view it as a feeling of emptyness and hopelessness.

    HOW TO TELL IF SOMEONE IS DEPRESSED

    Depression varies from one person to another but has common signs and symptoms.

    Important Caveat:The signs and symptoms can be part of normal lows of life.

    However,stronger symptoms that have lasted for a very long time can be a tell-tale that someone is dealing with depression.

    1. Feelings of hopelessness/ helplessness

    It’s a feeling that nothing will get better(The situation will not improve at all).This feeling shows a negative view of the future.

    2.Loss of interest

    If someone has lost interest e.g in the daily activities,he/she may be depressed.This is because they have lost joy in what makes them happy such as hobbies and social activities they participate in.

    3.Appetite and weight changes

    Depression causes significant changes in weight and appetite-for example 10% change in body weight in less than a month is a strong sign.

    4.Sleep changes

    Examples of sleep changes include: waking up very early in the morning, oversleeping or having trouble sleeping.

    Depressed people do not have regular sleeping patterns because the body is stressed out.Sleep change is a major tell-tale that someone could be depressed.

    5.Concetration problems

    Depression can make someone to have trouble focusing on something, making decisive decisions etc.

    The brain is tasked with various responsibilities at the same time; making proper coodination difficult.

    6.Anger

    Feeling agitated frequently,having short temper and a low level of tolerance can be due to depression.

    7.Loss of energy

    A depressed person feels physically drained,fatigued and sluggish.Moreover, they take longer time to complete small tasks.

    8.Self-loathing

    A depressed person usually has very strong feelings for worthlessness.Depressed people criticize themselves for perceived mistakes.

    9.Reckless behaviour

    They engage in escapist behaviour such as drug abuse,reckless driving, missing commitments compulsive gambling etc.

    10.Unexplained pains

    Physical complaints e.g. back pains, headaches, can be as a result of depression.

    CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

    Depression is caused by social, biological and physiological factors; not just as a result of chemical imbalance that can be cured by medication.This makes depression more complicated compared to some illnesses that are easier to treat.

    Risk factors that can make someone vulnerable include:

    1. Lacking social support – There’s no one to support you when you are feeling low.
    2. Loneliness – isolating yourself from others especially during difficult times.
    3. Marital/ relationship issues – cheating, violence etc.
    4. Childhood trauma – such as sexual or physical abuse.
    5. Financial strain– as a result of inadequate capital to fulfill financial obligations.
    6. Problems such as low self-esteem – not accepting yourself.

    The cause of depression will help determine the best treatment for that particular problem.

    It is therefore important for someone to identify what is making them depressed.

    For example: Perhaps the best treatment for dead-end job would be to find a more satisfying job rather than taking antidepressants.

    COPING WITH DEPRESSION

    1.Reaching out to others

    A person who is depressed should reach out to friends and loved ones even if they feel like staying alone.

    Why?

    Staying isolated fuels depression.

    The simple act of sharing how you feel with others can be of enormous help.

    2. Get moving

    Regular exercise can be a daunting task for a depressed person.

    However,exercising can be of great help in countering depression.( Can be as effective as antidepressants,if not better).

    You should start by performing small activities and build up from there.

    3. Finding ways to engage with the rest of the population.

    For example, picking up something you used to enjoy, engaging in social activities,taking care of your pet etc.

    Important Caveat: This may not make a depressed person feel like it at first but it will make them feel better again.What’s important is that they are making progress in the right direction.

    4. Taking foods that will boost the mood.

    A depressed person should reduce intake of foods that have adverse effects on the mood such as refined carbs, caffeine and alcohol.They should opt for mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega 3 acids.

    Problems caused by depression become worse when people are not diagonised, let alone treatment.The good news is that depression can be easily treated if it’s identified early before it becomes severe.

  • Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

    Everything you need to know about Alzheimer’s Disease

    WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?

    Alzheimer’s disease is a slow and progressive disease associated with the brain that can affect your basic ability to think, answer, speak as well as reasoning

    We all are aware of the fact that every single control of the body is managed by our brain

    It is the most vital organ without which the rest of the body will be useless

    This disease slowly decreases the actual potential of the brain which triggers number of issues including memory loss

    The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet known

    However accumulation of a protein ‘beta-amyloid’ in the brain is believed to be largely responsible for it

    It is because of the nerve cells of our brain, that we are able to react to the different situations that we come across

    The increased production or accumulation of this protein results in the death of nerve cells

    Thus it affects your ability to perform some familiar tasks that you used to perform daily

    You may feel difficulty in speaking as well as writing

    Due to the memory loss, you may lose or misplace some of your important things

    The death of nerve cells will make you lose interest in your daily activities and result in poor judgement

    Possibility of being affected with this disease increases substantially after the age of 70

    Once you cross the age of 85, you are always at the risk

    Along with age being a factor there are also genetic risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease

    Other risk factors include high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes and an increase in the blood cholesterol level

    However not all of them with this symptoms may necessarily suffer from Alzheimer.

    METHODS FOR PREVENTION OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

    Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest concerns many of us have as we are getting older

    Instead of depending upon our fate there is a lot we can do to avoid this disease in future

    Research have shown that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer through applying simple but effective lifestyle changes

    By living a brain-healthy lifestyle, you will definitely be able to slow down or prevent the consequences of it

    There are many antibiotics available in the market that can help you decrease the risk of Alzheimer

    However they always carry along them some unwanted side-effects

    Its always better to go with some of the natural remedies that are available to us in nature

    INCLUDE FRUITS, VEGETABLES & OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS IN YOUR DIET

    Decrease in incidents of Alzheimer have been observed over the years, with people who have included more fruits and vegetables in their diet, Specifically including berries each day, that contain a class of compounds called ‘Anthocyanosides’ will fight the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain

    Studies have shown that people those who have included fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna had lower rates of Alzheimer’s

    The omega-3 fatty acids that the above fishes posses help to keep this disease at bay

    Consuming a glass of fruit juices along with your evening meal can help to protect your brain cells from any sort of toxic effect of beta amyloid

    Also patients who had acquired to the Mediterranean style diet had a lower rate of Alzheimer’s compared to others.

    REGULAR EXERCISE AND YOGA

    Exercise can help boost your mental strength and nerve cell growth

    Daily workout of about 2 hours will ensure a healthy flow of fresh oxygen along with blood to your brain cells

    This will not only keep you active, but will also slow down further deterioration in those who have already been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease

    Beginners can try swimming and early morning jogging out

    If you are facing any sort of trouble with intense workout, you can try opting for yoga along with other balance and coordination exercises

    Have a strict and healthy home-made diet by avoiding all the oily stuff.

    MENTAL STIMULATION

    It is important that we keep our brain cells active by constantly challenging it

    Just as your body requires daily exercise to remain fit, the same way it is essential to train your brain too

    You can try learning new foreign languages or practice memorization

    You can strengthen your nerve connections by playing strategy games like chess or puzzles, and number games such as scrabble or Sudoku

    QUALITY SLEEP

    If proper night sleep is missing out from your daily routine, than you need to eliminate all those factors that are responsible for it

    Inadequate sleep is most common among Alzheimer patients and the best way to slow it down is by including adequate 8 hours of proper sleep

    Proper sleep can help eradicate all the brain toxins improving your memory and concentration ability.

    CONCLUSION

    Living a stress-free lifestyle and maintaining a strict daily schedule is essential for preventing any disease in future

    Avoid all the unhealthy foods, and habits such as smoking, since its your life and you only live it once.

  • The Many Different Treatment Options For Dementia

    The Many Different Treatment Options For Dementia

    What is Dementia?

    Dementia is a condition that causes a person’s intellectual and social abilities to degenerate

    Some of the symptoms of this include: memory loss, hallucinations, difficulty communicating, personality changes, paranoia and inability to process new information.

    What causes Dementia?

    Doctors have not been able to identify exactly what causes Dementia

    However, there are several factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing this condition. What are some risk factors associated with Dementia? Dementia is much more likely to occur in people who are over the age of 60

    Those who have a family history of dementia are also more likely to develop it themselves.

    Health researchers have found that most people who have Downs Syndrome will develop Dementia later in life.

    Additionally, those who have other conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol and diabetes are also more likely to develop dementia. What are some complications associated with Dementia? People who have Dementia will suffer serious complications if this condition is not treated early enough

    Untreated Dementia can lead to infections, heart and lung problems, brain tumors and nutritional deficiencies.

    What are some of the different treatment options for Dementia? Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to improve a person’s quality of life

    Every patient is different and a doctor may have to prescribe several treatments before he or she finds one that works for the patient

    A physician will usually prescribe a medication that helps minimize the symptoms and slow the progression of Dementia. One of the most commonly prescribed medications is Donepezil (Aricept)

    This medication works by increasing the production of the chemical messengers that control judgment and memory

    A doctor may also prescribe Memantine (Nemada), which works by increasing a person’s learning and memory

    Dementia patients can also benefit from occupational therapy

    An occupational therapist is someone who is trained to assist patients with the activities of daily living

    Cognitive behavior therapy, which is a form of therapy that helps people understand how their thinking influences their behavior, is also beneficial to Dementia patients

    Studies have shown that most patients who go through cognitive behavior therapy notice an improvement in their symptoms. What can caregivers do at home to help patients manage this condition? Caregivers can help their loved ones manage Dementia by maintaining a safe and stable home environment

    They can also their loved ones by setting reminders. What are some natural remedies for Dementia treatment? There are some supplements that people can take to reduce the symptoms of Dementia

    Vitamin E can help slow the progression of Dementia

    Omega 3 Fatty acids, which are a nutrient found in fish oil can be extremely beneficial for Dementia patients

    Studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids help slow down cognitive decline and help promote healthy brain function

    It is always wise to consult with a physician before taking any dietary supplement. Should I consider putting my loved one in a nursing home?

    The decision about whether to put one’s loved one in a nursing home can be quite difficult

    Caring for a person with Dementia can be a great burden and putting one’s loved on in the care of someone else can alleviate that burden

    Nursing homes have medical staff that are trained to treat patients who have Dementia.

    Other medications: Although there is no standard treatment for dementia, some symptoms can be treated

    Additional treatments aim at reducing the risk of further damage to the brain.

    Treating the underlying cause of dementia may slow or stop the progress of the condition

    A disease celled Creutzfeldt-Jakob has no known treatments

    Care is focused on making sure the person is comfortable and easy

    Diagnosing Dementia At An Early Stage

    Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care and treatment become easier and more effective if the disease is diagnosed at an early stage

    However, quite often, the early symptoms such as memory loss, personality change, cognition problems, etc. go unnoticed as people mistake them as signs of ageing

    It is important not to ignore these early warning signs and seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

    Why is early diagnosis important?

    If dementia is diagnosed at an early stage, it helps planning and preparing for the future in an appropriate way

    It includes gathering knowledge and understanding of available treatments

    It also helps in making financial arrangements and other preparations for seeking care at a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care Facility at a later stage as the disease progresses.

    Symptoms of dementia can be caused by several conditions, many of which are treatable and reversible

    So, an early diagnosis can help identify and treat the cause before it worsens

    Also, most of the available treatments for dementia work best if started early on at the onset of the disease

    Early intervention can stop further decline. Who should you consult for diagnosis of dementia? The moment you find some behavioural changes in yourself or your relative, and suspect it could be dementia then the first person you should consult is a general practitioner

    If he feels that the symptoms actually indicate dementia, he may refer you to a specialist such as a psychiatrist, neurologist, or neuropsychologist, who will examine you, and if found eligible, refer you for subsidized Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care.

    Aged care assessment teams comprising of doctors, nurses and occupational therapists are also available at various hospitals and aged care nursing homes

    They assess the needs of elderly, approve their eligibility for certain Government funding and packages, and make recommendations on the level of aged care nursing that they require

    Aged care assessment teams help the elderly get the right kind of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care.

    Conclusion The moment you suspect that an aged relative is showing some behavioural or cognitive changes that point towards dementia, you must take them to a professional for a complete evaluation

    Early diagnosis may help better management of the disease

    In case, professionals confirm that your aged relative has dementia, you are left with two choices, either you take care of them personally, or leave them under the care of professionals at a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care Facility.

    Kankinya is the provider of best Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care in Canberra

    The state of the art Dementia sufferers care facility is not only the best care provider, but is also the safest facility in ACT

    So, you can trust us for all your aged care nursing and Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care needs.

  • A List of Common Mental Health Disorders

    Mental disorders are the mental health conditions that affect the behavior of an individual. Here is a list of common mental health disorders

    1. Mood disorders
    2. Anxiety disorders
    3. Personality disorders
    4. Eating disorders
    5. Psychosis

    Following are the brief explanations on each disorder.

    MOOD DISORDERS

    They are disorders that lead to a persistent hike in sadness or happiness.

    The known mood disorders are:

    Depression

    Depression comes as a result of continuous discouragements and frustration.

    The way an individual handles depression determines how long it lasts.

    For some it lasts for a few days while others it takes a lifetime and without medical attention it becomes a disability.

    This can cause permanent physical damage to an individual for example change in sleeping and eating patterns.

    Bipolar disorder

    It is a disorder that involves sudden changes of the mood that can include the violent deranging of the mind or insanity.

    This disorder requires medical attention for it to be controlled.

    When it becomes too intense, it affects an individual’s way of thinking.

    The cyclothymic disorder

    ANXIETY DISORDERS

    Normal anxiety is not treated as a disorder.

    Nevertheless, the disorder comes in when a person has uncontrollable response to situations and cannot function normally in areas such as school and work.

    Such disorders include;

    Panic

    Recurring events of sudden panic attacks causes a panic disorder.

    Indications of panic attacks include chocking, abnormal heartbeats and severe pains in the chest.

    Specific Phobia

    This is an irresistibly strong fear a person experiences when they come into contact with specific situations including animals like snakes, doctors, tall buildings and storms.

    This can cause a person to avoid such.

    Generalized anxiety disorder.

    It is a condition in which too much worry begins to interfere with the normal routine of individual causing problems such as; low concentration, fatigue and uneasiness.

    Obsessive compulsive disorder

    It is a condition in which disturbing urges are experienced by an individual.

    Disturbing enough to make an individual become obsessed and hence perform unsuitable things in order to make them feel better.

    Social anxiety disorder

    It is a common disorder which some refer to as cowardice.

    An individual lacks courage of doing their activities publicly.

    They are afraid of the negative judgments from other people and therefore, making new friends is a problem to them.

    Post traumatic stress disorder

    After a distressing situation, an individual is likely to develop psychological issues which with time develop into a permanent disability.

    This alters a person’s normal functioning and leads to distressing memories, nightmares and social detachment, Therefore the individual avoids situations that trigger the bad memories.

    Agoraphobia

    A situation where a person tries as much as possible to avoid panic attacks due to their previous overwhelming experiences of fear of embarrassment.

    EATING DISORDERS

    These are abnormal reactions that entail mainly food.

    The common eating disorders are;

    Bulimia nervosa

    It is a condition where a person tries to get rid of the discomfort that results from excessive food intake by either skipping some meals or too much exercise.

    Anorexia nervosa

    It is a condition where a person entirely dedicates themselves in regulating the amount of food intake.

    Binge eating disorder

    PSYCHOSIS

    From psycho, we already know that psychosis refers to situations affecting the mind.

    It is a mental disorder that causes physical brain damage leading to mania and imaginations of unreal things.

    It can be caused by the bipolar disorder and others.

    PERSONALITY DISORDERS

    Personality disorders cause an individual to have issues with working especially publicly and social interactions.

    This interferes and limits their capability to create normal interactions.

    SCHIZOPHRENIC DISORDER

    This is a mental disorder whose symptoms includes; low social activity, lack of speech, hallucinating, abnormal behavior and too much confusion.

    Other mental disorders include;

    Factitious disorders

    Dissociative disorders

    Sexual and gender disorders

    This affects the sexual performance of a person.

    Sexual dysfunction is an example of this type of disorder.

    Somatic symptom disorders

    Individuals with this disorder, even with medical attention, their pain is persistent.

    Tic disorders

    It is a condition where a person makes uncontrollable and snell movements on various parts of the body.

    CONCLUSION

    Some of the above mental disorders can mainly be treated using therapy sessions, medical attentions, and psychotherapy including other methods.

  • How to Determine If You Are Depressed

    How to Determine If You Are Depressed

    Life will always have its ups and downs for everyone – it is 100% normal. However, there are many cases in the world where people have unexplainably strong emotions of hopelessness and despair. For these people, these feelings simply won’t go away and they take a hold of your life. This is a telltale sign of depression. It makes it tough to function and simply enjoy life like you may have been able to do in the past.

    However, it is not always noticeable and discernable whether your feelings are actually clinical depression. This unfortunately happens to so many people and as a result they do not get the help and support that they so desperately want and need.

    So what is depression? Well, it’s a debilitating mood disorder that is more common than people realize. When people first think of depression, they think of being sad or being, for lack of a better word, depressed. However, depression is not the same as being depressed. Depression changes how you think, act and feel throughout your day. It will interfere with just about everything you do, from working, eating, sleeping and simply enjoying life. And the hardest part is that those close to you, and even yourself, may not realize you are suffering from depression.

    Below are some major signs that indicate you may be suffering from depression. Note that if you are exhibiting any or all of the signs listed below, it is always best to go to your doctor to confirm your mental state and well-being before taking any further steps:

    • Feeling empty and lifeless – This sign is definitely something that may not be observable to anyone but yourself. This is because you may be putting up an outward front of happiness to those around you, but in reality you are feeling apathetic towards almost everything. You may have a significant loss of energy as well, for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
    • Issues with sleep – if you have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, this may be a sign of depression. On the flip side however, sleeping too much may also be a sign of depression, as this is an extension of you not wanting to go out and enjoy life as often as you used to.
    • Appetite or weight changes – any significant changes to your eating habits and as a result you weight can indicate underlying signs of depression. This makes sense as often when you are experiencing difficulty in life, whether it be a breakup or a loss of work, you will often lose your appetite, or over eat to drown out the pain.
    • Self-loathing – this signal includes feeling worthless or being guilty for no particular reason. You may be more prone to harshly criticizing yourself for mistakes and faults that may not even be your own.
    • Anger or irritability – if you are agitated all the time, in instances when you were previously not, then this may be a sign of depression. Some people may even become violent to varying degrees.
    • Reckless behavior – common examples of this include substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving and participating in dangerous sports.
    • Concentration problems – If you have trouble focusing with whatever you are currently doing, have trouble making decisions, then this may be a sign of depression. You may also have trouble remembering things.
    • Unexplained body aches and pain – it is common for people who suffer from depression to report an increase in physical pain. These pains can include headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pain. If you start to consistently experience more physical pain, without a clear explanation why, then you may be suffering from depression.
    • Suicidal thoughts – If you have explicit thoughts of committing suicide, then this is just about the biggest signal of suffering from depression. If you feel like your problems are not temporary but permanent and overwhelming, this can quickly spiral into suicidal thoughts.

    Please note that having a few of these signs on their own may or may not mean that you are suffering from depression.  If you do exhibit any or all of these signs though, particularly suicidal thoughts, you should go to a doctor immediately, regardless of if you believe you are in a state of depression or not. At the very least, your doctor can diagnose you and provide you with a healthy course of action, for whatever your affliction is.

    By recognizing if you are clinically depressed, you can begin to take the first steps to overcoming the problem and eventually feeling better and returning to a fulfilling, enjoyable life.

    And if you think a friend or family member may be suffering from depression, or may be considering suicide, express your concern and seek help for them immediately. Always remember that talking openly and honestly about these feelings can potentially save a life.