Ten ways to identify depression

Do you feel constantly fatigued? What about sleepless nights and fluctuating weight?

In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime and in any one year, Around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety, while almost all individuals will, in some way, experience its effects (either personally or through someone they know).

It is in fact one of the greatest killers of our time; a condition marked by a change in the functioning of the mind, affecting our everyday lives.

Women, more so than men, may experience depression due to a variety of contributing factors: from changes in hormone levels to both pre- and post-menopause as well as pregnancy and even the menstrual cycle. And these are just the natural causes. External factors that could lead to depression include genetics, diseases, drugs, alcohol abuse, associated mental illnesses and many, many more.

So where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? What’s the first step toward a better life? Step one is to identify and accept the reality…

The following will list some of the more common symptoms of depression. Take note, however, that these symptoms, experienced on their own or even in certain combinations, could be indicative of something else, which is why you should always consult your local healthcare practitioner when in doubt.

1. Weight
Gaining or losing weight without any apparent reason as a result of a sudden increase or decrease of appetite. This symptom is also marked by sporadic fasting or eating binges.

2. Physical Discomfort
Inexplicable headaches, incessant aches and pains as well as digestive discomfort.

3. Suicidal Tendencies
Morbid thoughtfulness as well as an inclination towards suicide.

4. General Irritability
Marked by a short temper as well as impatience and restlessness.

5. Exhaustion
Being afflicted with a severe lack of energy, a decline in metabolism as well as continual fatigue.

6. Sleeplessness
A lack of sufficient rest, often resulting in severe insomnia.

7. Brooding
Morbidly thoughtfulness and/or suicidal inclinations.

8. Indecisiveness
A lack of focus thought could result in indecisiveness along with a strong feeling of helplessness.

9. Anxiety
Feelings of emptiness combined with an unshakable sense of anxiety.

A misplaced sense of guilt perhaps fuelled by a lack of self worth and feelings of helplessness.

Finding Help
Turning your life around is no small feat, but know that it can be done. The first step is to admit to yourself that you are affected, followed by renewed determination to turn things around for yourself. Make a positive effort to keep a good frame of mind; set new goals, try meditation and find enjoyment in the little things such as good music and the company of friends. You can also try a Reiki Healing or Chakra Balancing session. The key to self-empowerment lies in achieving small successes that will lead on to bigger ones.

Most important of all, however, is to consult your local health care physician should you experience any of the above symptoms (to eliminate any physical causes). This may be followed by a visit to the psychologist or psychiatrist which could well put you on a road to a new life. And, should you ever feel the need to talk to someone, simply get in touch with Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 .

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