10 Ways to Spot Depression in yourself or your friend

Driving you to drink - Depression and Alcoholism are intricately linked

Suicide is a jolting reminder of the worst possible outcome of Depression. It is a protracted emotional nightmare for all involved, especially for those who have to discover their loved one after the act. Major Depressive Disorder, as it is known in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual– IV – Text Revision, is a type of Mood Disorder, and the symptoms must go one for longer than 6 months for a diagnosis to be made.

It has some glaring hallmarks that everyone should look out for, in yourself or your friend or family members:

1. Withdrawal from friends and Family: Sudden or gradual reluctance to hang out with friends or family occurs when the depression begins to drag the person down. They want to stay at home and they do not want visitors.

2. Weight loss or gain: The person may lose their appetite, complain of being unable to eat or, they may overeat in a sitting, or eat constantly throughout the day, especially when they are alone. The person will tend to eat high fat foods or carbohydrates, gaining weight steadily in the process.

3. Insomnia or Hypersomnia: The person has difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep, and may restlessly pace or stay up worrying. They may also sleep excessively and have trouble getting out of the bed to go to work or school.

4. Negative thinking/ Doomsday thinking– The person may talk about failure and fears of failure over and above their normal everyday conversation topics. They may also have pessimistic comments about you or other people and have great difficulty finding the positive in any situation.

5. Excessive Drinking– Now this one isn’t necessarily in the DSM but its a biggie, especially among men. Excessive consumption of alcohol leading to dependence (needing to drink everyday) or abuse (Alcoholism) is a common complaint of family members or spouses of the person who suffers from Depression. The person who drinks isn’t usually aware of their problem but they may drink to “drown their sorrows”- Alcohol is actually a depressant ironically enough.

6. Hypo-sexuality– A loss of interest in Sex is very common in person who are Depressed. Women may complain of a loss of libido and negative feelings directed at themselves. Men may also complain that they have lost their ‘nature’, which may be very disturbing to them. This may even result in a loss of erection and more long-term, Erectile dysfunction, which only makes them feel worse about themselves.

7. Irritability: Arguments may start more easily with a family member that is suffering with Depression. They may act as if they are on a hair – trigger and snap at simple mistakes or comments. They may also take comments made in general conversations, personally.

8. Excessive Guilt: blaming yourself or taking blame where there was none intended is another symptoms of depression. You may feel at fault for a number of things that happened in the past and may even re-live embarrassing or  shame – assigned experiences. You feel an ongoing sense of disappointment and shame in yourself.

9. Tearfulness: Experiencing long periods of sadness and crying episodes is a definite red flag for depression. Men may notice they cry about seemingly insignificant things or find themselves awash with tears at the end of a Fred Flintstone cartoon, wondering why they are crying. Women will find themselves crying more easily than usual. Sometimes they can pinpoint why they are upset but not knowing why they may be overreacting is also possible.

10. SUICIDAL IDEATION– MOST IMPORTANT RED FLAG: talking about dying, being obsessed with dying or voicing feelings of wanting to kill yourself or wanting to not wake up in the morning, are clear signs of Depression. Sometimes people will describe this feeling as being in a dark place, hemmed in on all sides and being unable to find their way out. They feel as if the only way out is if they just disappeared. If the person describes a plan or discusses how they would do it, take them seriously and take them to the nearest emergency room, psychologist or psychiatrist, post haste!

Recently, some Jamaican policemen were at work when a colleague voiced the feeling of wanting to put a gun to his head and kill himself. His partners did not believe him and were quite shocked when he pulled out his firearm and shot himself in the head.

Which leads me to another point: if the person has a gun find a way to hide it from them until you can get help for them.

There are other symptoms but these are some that you can easily identify. So stay close if you see this in your friends and if you see these in yourself..get to the nearest Psychologist or Psychiatrist or Emergency room. It can be helped and you don’t deserve to feel this way.

Call 1-876-908-1804 if you or a family member or a friend demonstrates signs of Major Depressive Disorder.

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