Most of us will experience feelings of sadness, frustration, irritation or anxiety as we journey throughout our lives. However, if these feelings persist and cause you to feel hopeless or worthless, you may be depressed.

Depression is common mental health condition and can affect anyone of any age or background. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly 19 million adults in the United States felt a depressive episode in the past year. However, depression is often difficult to self-diagnose, and unfortunately, goes untreated in many cases. That is why it is so imperative to recognize the signs that point to depression. Continue reading to learn more. 

What is Depression?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines depression as a mood disorder causing severe symptoms that affect how someone thinks, feels and acts. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must occur for a minimum of two weeks.  

What Are Some Causes of Depression?

There is no singular cause of depression. Research suggests that depression is typically caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. 

Some factors that can lead to depression include:  

  • Trauma
  • Genetics
  • Difficult life circumstances
  • Changes to the brain
  • Medical conditions, such as sleep disturbances, medical illness, chronic pain, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
  • Certain medications 
  • Drug and alcohol misuse

Am I Depressed?

There are over 1,000 symptoms that could lead to a depression diagnosis. Therefore, keep in mind that the signs below do not constitute a comprehensive list. If you recognize any of these warning signs or have other symptoms that may stem from depression, speak with a mental health professional or your doctor as soon as possible. 

Depressed Mood

If you continuously find yourself feeling “off,” you may be depressed. Many individuals with a depressed mood feel sad, empty or frequently find themselves crying throughout the day. 

Decreased Interest in Hobbies 

A decreased interest or loss of pleasure in activities you once enjoyed, known as anhedonia, is another common sign of depression. Some people experience physical anhedonia, which is trouble enjoying sensory pleasures. Others have social anhedonia, which is difficulty enjoying social situations they liked before.

Trouble Sleeping 

If you are having trouble sleeping, the cause could be depression. Around 90 percent of people with depression also have sleep issues. Two sleep issues connected to depression are hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) and insomnia (difficulty sleeping), which is the most common sleep-related problem. 

Alcohol or Substance Use

Many people who struggle with depression turn to alcohol or substance use. But drugs and alcohol will not cure depression. Substance use will only worsen your situation and potentially lead to the development of a substance use disorder and other co-occurring disorders. For instance, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that approximately 20 percent of people with depression, anxiety or other mood disorder have a co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorder and vice versa. 

Changes in Appetite and Weight

Appetite and weight changes can also suggest the presence of depression. For example, some individuals use food for comfort, while others experience a loss of appetite due to low mood or energy levels. Depending on how depression affects your appetite, you may begin gaining or losing weight. 

Difficulty Concentrating 

Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering things are all frequent signs of depression. According to a 2014 study, these symptoms make working and personal relationships difficult, thus worsening depression. 

Feeling Irritable or Angry

While some people may not associate irritability and anger with depression, these feelings are surprisingly normal with this condition, especially in men. MayoClinic states that depressed men may display symptoms including irritability, inappropriate anger, violent behavior or abusive behavior.

Focusing on Death

Sadly, some people with depression consider suicide, whether because of feeling hopeless or worthless or due to social isolation or alcohol or substance use, to name a few reasons. Research suggests that up to 60 percent of people who commit suicide also suffered from depression. However, it should be noted many people with depression will not experience suicidal thoughts. 

If your feelings are escalating into thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call 911 or a crisis service immediately. At Seneca Health Services, we provide crisis services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Our community engagement coordinators are familiar with the warning signs of many behavioral health challenges and provide prevention assistance for those struggling with suicidal ideations, depression, substance use disorders, anxiety and more. 

We Are Here For You | Seneca Health Services

If you think you are depressed and need an ally, we encourage you to talk with our team at Seneca Health Services. There are multiple treatment options for depression, and we personalize our patients’ care so they can receive effective treatment — no more or less than what is needed. 

Our therapy professionals help patients cope with any significant problems that they are experiencing. People come to us for mental health assistance for many reasons including anxiety, behavioral issues, personal tragedy, depression, difficulty dealing with stress, substance use disorders and so forth. When a patient enters our therapy services, they will discover compassion, companionship, understanding and so much more. Furthermore, our therapists work in conjunction with psychiatric medical providers if medications are needed.

If you need help or have questions, do not hesitate to contact the Seneca office nearest you or use the link provided here

Greenbrier County, West Virginia: (304) 497-0500

Nicholas County, West Virginia: (304) 872-2659

Pocahontas County, West Virginia: (304) 799-6865

Webster County, West Virginia: (304) 847-5425