When many people think about depression, one word usually comes to mind: sadness. While sadness is certainly a symptom of depression, much more is actually involved in the condition.
An estimated 6% of people in the United States live with depression. Unfortunately, many people don’t get a diagnosis and struggle with it alone.
At Alpha Care Medical in Seaford, Millsboro, Harrington, and Dover, Delaware, our providers are experts in diagnosing and treating depression. In this blog, we explain what depression is and what some of its signs are.
Depression isn’t just sadness. It’s a combination of symptoms that affects your mental, physical, and emotional health. While sadness is the signature symptom of depression, these episodes of deep sadness last for two weeks or longer and are accompanied by other changes in overall mood. Other symptoms of depression include:
Depression can also cause a loss of energy and other physical symptoms, such as headaches, body aches, body pains, digestive problems, and restlessness.
Most people feel sadness or grief from time to time, but this is different from suffering from depression. As mentioned, the sadness associated with depression usually lasts weeks, and it’s often accompanied by other factors, such as the following:
Your genetic makeup plays a big part in how you function. Your genetics can cause chemical imbalances that can lead to depression. So if you have a parent or grandparent who suffers from depression, you have a higher risk of developing depression. You also have a higher chance of experiencing depression if you’re a woman, especially if you’ve lived with postpartum depression.
The emotional symptoms of depression may be clear to you or your loved ones, but, as pointed out earlier, there are often other symptoms that go along with the condition. In addition to long periods of sadness, you may experience fatigue, aches, and changes in your appetite. You may also notice changes in your relationships.
Many people who have depression have also experienced trauma, such as from an abusive relationship or from military situations. And, even if you spend years thinking you feel fine after an incident, it could still affect you years later.
Depression can have the power to alter or compromise your interpersonal relationships. Your colleagues may notice that you’ve become withdrawn, irritable, or tired all the time. Your family may notice that you spend more time alone and disinterested in daily life. Without treatment, your depression may worsen and continue to erode your most important relationships.
Depression often accompanies other mood disorders, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety is a condition in which the sufferer struggles with intense feelings of worry, fear, or panic. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition in which past trauma causes upsetting thoughts, such as distressing memories, flashbacks, and nightmares.
If you think you may have depression, we can help. We can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, call 800-818-8680 to book an appointment with Alpha Care Medical today.