Recognizing and Responding to Depression
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us have up and down days, but it's important to know if depression is taking charge. When one difficult day blends into several more, it's time to recognize symptoms and get help.
WellAndGood.com experts say depression is very common and these are some of the key symptoms.
- Change in appetite - When you lose interest in your favorite foods or find yourself skipping meals, depression may be at work.
- Loss of interest in life - When the thought of holidays, or friends' notes fail to get your attention, it's time to ask why not.
- Changes in sleep routines - If you normally get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, but are averaging about five hours and frequently waking up during the night, you need to find out why.
Depression Impacts Memory Too
Experts are also adding memory to the list of depression's impacts. They say depression affects us in three ways, which explains why our overall view of life is changed and our ability to rally is challenged. Here is what can happen.
- It becomes more difficult to recall detailed memories
- It becomes easier to recall negative memories
- It becomes harder to make and remember new positive ones.
If you find yourself slipping into this negative memory pattern, your mind and body may pay the price. Psychologists say depression reduces the ability to focus on daily events which limits the ability to recall specific events and make new memories.
The Mayo Clinic points out symptoms of depression to be aware of.
- Feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, tearfulness
- Constant bad thoughts
- Feeling weak and tired
- Feeling self-critical
- Thinking of harming self or suicide
- Difficulty making decisions, concentrating
- Withdrawing from friends, family, co-workers
- Disturbed sleeping
Ways to Cope
The Mayo Clinic staff says depression calls for treatment and good supporting strategies. .
- Exercise daily 20 to 30 minutes
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Take a Vitamin D supplement
- Take steps to manage stress
- Reach out to family and friends to stay connected
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
- Focus on things you enjoy such as music, books, crafts or nature
Don't Ignore the Problem, Get Help
If you are having ongoing depression symptoms, see your primary care doctor and a recommended mental health professional to work through the issues and get relief. Call your doctor now and get the support you need.
Note: If you are thinking of self-harm or suicide get professional help immediately. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Morrisville, N.C.