Experiencing slumps now and again can happen to the best of us. Sometimes staying under the covers seems more appealing than going out and about. But what happens when the slump lasts longer?
Are you just tired or is this an early sign of depression? Here is what you need to know.
What is depression?
Depression can affect us differently. It can range from mild to severe symptoms. Depression is a major depressive disorder that affects 1 in 6 South Africans. It is a serious medical condition that can negatively affect how we feel, think and act. While depression is treatable, the stigma surrounding it has resulted in many people suffering in silence. If it is left untreated, it can result in a loss of interest in life and increase suicidal thoughts.
Signs and symptoms of depression
Depression is a mental disorder that can affect anyone. It is a mental disorder that is characterised by someone being in a persistently depressed mood, having a loss of interest in things that they previously enjoyed and distancing themselves from people. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:
Constantly feeling sad or being in a depressed mood
Change in appetite - sudden weight loss or gain
Change in sleeping patterns - sleeping too much or less
Decreased interest in activities you once enjoyed
Constantly feeling drained (fatigued)
Feeling worthless, guilty or self-loathing
Disrupted attention span
Difficulty in making decisions
Persistent thoughts of death or suicide
It's important to remember that these symptoms can vary from being mild to severe in which both cases will require medical attention. Should you experience any of these symptoms for at least two weeks or more you could be suffering from depression.
How can you get help?
The reality is that depression affects anyone. It can affect children, adults, women, men, rich and poor. Even when it appears that someone is functioning well in life, it is still possible for them to become depressed.
For some people, depression is a lifelong battle which means that they can suffer from episodic depression that causes them to relapse. Seeking medical attention is crucial to start your journey of recovery.
Seeing a specialist such as a psychologist can give you access to the right treatment and counselling that will help you on your journey to becoming well. You can contact the South African National Depression and Anxiety Group on their toll-free number 0800 20 50 26 to speak to a trained counsellor.