Recognizing depression – When is the right time to seek help?

In the contemporary world, depression has become a frequently undiagnosed ailment affecting a major part of the population around the world. The fast-paced world, the loneliness of modern life, societal pressure, etc, make people prone to depression. Depression completely drains away any form of joy or color from the patient’s daily life.

The stigma around mental health makes it even harder for people with depression to speak up about their condition.

Do you know what’s the most astonishing part of it all? A significant number of individuals with depression do not even recognize their own condition. Depression shows itself in various subtle ways. Knowing these persistent signs can help those affected by depression get some clue about it.

So, come on, let’s go through the persistent signs of depression together, when to reach out and how to start the journey of seeking help.

What is depression? Its causes and signs

Depression is a form of serious mental health disorder. Knowing its causes and signs might help patients understand its depth a bit better.

Causes

  • Biological factors such as genetic susceptibility can make a person prone to depression. So, a person with a history of depression in the family has a higher chance of suffering from this disorder.
  • An imbalance of mood regulators such as serotonin and dopamine because of neurotransmitter imbalance can contribute to depression.
  • Fluctuations in hormones during biological and formative phases, such as puberty, pregnancy, etc, can trigger depression in people.
  • Past trauma, abuse, or prior mental health disorders can lead to the development of depression.
  • Personality traits such as self-esteem issues, pessimistic perspective, and excessive worrying make a person more vulnerable to depression.
  • The absence of meaningful connections, lack of support, and loneliness can cause depressive symptoms.

Persistent signs

  • Individuals with depression might suffer from a persistent feeling of sadness that lasts for a very long period.
  • A hallmark sign of depression is the lack of interest in activities the person once enjoyed. People with depression stop enjoying their hobbies.
  • Depression causes constant feelings of fatigue. Individuals with depression struggle to perform daily tasks in life.
  • Some individuals with depression develop disrupted sleep patterns. Some individuals become insomniacs, while some sleep excessively.
  • Depression brings along significant shifts in appetite. This results in severe weight loss or sudden weight gain.
  • Depression can make people feel worthless. Individuals might blame themselves for situations beyond their control.
  • Depression manifests in physical symptoms such as unexplained body aches, digestive issues, etc.

How to know when to reach out for help?

Understanding when to reach out for help is indeed very crucial for people suffering from depression. People who suffer from depression often don’t understand their conditions. The signs gradually manifest themselves. They start withdrawing from social life, develop unhealthy eating patterns, and stop enjoying life altogether.

Signs of depression are not always that visible, but they certainly affect the physical health of the individual, too. In severe cases, some individuals often suffer from suicidal thoughts. The sense of worthlessness and constant fatigue weakens the individual’s form inside.

So, if you are going through any of the signs mentioned, you should consider seeking help. Start with reaching out to your friends and family in case you are not yet ready to see a mental health professional. Early treatment can certainly improve your condition.

Overcome the stigma

There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health issues. This stigma often prevents individuals suffering from depression from getting the help they need. As a patient suffering from the draining effects of depression, fighting off this stigma can sometimes be really tough. Try to reach out to your loved ones first to let them know about your symptoms. This might help you a lot.

However, do remember that you are not alone in this. At present, you can find different online social media sites and groups for mental health issues. You can also access psychotherapists and other mental health experts online for treatment.

Gita Sawhney is a compassionate psychotherapist practicing in Manhattan who offers mental health support for depression. You can also visit her clinic, GS Mental Health & Wellness, for in-person sessions.

The benefit of early treatment

There are numerous benefits of treating depression at an early stage. Knowing about them might inspire you to seek help at the right time. Here are the benefits –

  • Timely intervention can improve the treatment outcomes. The symptoms of depression can be treated before they become severe and turn into a chronic form of depression.
  • With timely intervention, you can improve the quality of your life. You can maintain healthy relationships and enjoy everyday life and activities.
  • Early treatment will bring a major change in your physical health, too. With guidance, you can build a healthy eating pattern to maintain a healthy eight.
  • Depression might sometimes exist with other mental health issues. Early intervention can prevent the co-occurring of other mental health diseases.
  • Treating depression at the right time will help you build emotional resilience and positive coping mechanisms.

Steps you can take to initiate help-seeking

There are certain steps that you can take to prepare yourself before you start opening up about your depression. Take the steps gradually without any hurry. Here are the steps that you can follow –

Self-reflection

Self-reflection can help you understand your feelings, the thoughts clouding your mind, and your fears and worries. Do not try to diagnose yourself without professional guidance. Self-reflection will help you get clarity. You can then easily express yourself to your loved ones and the medical professional treating you.

Talk to someone trusted

Choose the closest and the most trusted people in your circle to whom you can open up without any fear of judgment. Sit down and talk to them about everything you are feeling. Contact them wherever you need somebody to listen to you.

Visit a general practitioner

Before visiting a mental health expert, do visit a general practitioner. After they rule out any signs of physical ailment they recommend you to the concerned specialists.

Explore online resources

In case you cannot opt for in-person therapy sessions, you can go for online sessions with mental health mentors . Do thorough online research to find a practitioner you think will suit you.

Set realistic goals for yourself.

Depression as a condition needs time to heal. So, set short-term improvement goals for yourself. Gaining those goals will give you a feeling of achievement. Over time, you will certainly see a difference in yourself.

Build a support network

As an individual suffering from depression, it is necessary to have a support network. Share your thoughts and even your whaling journey with this group of trusted friends and family members. It will prevent you from feeling lonely in this journey of healing.

FAQs- seek help for depression

1) Can treating depression early be helpful?

Early intervention in depression can prevent the symptoms from becoming more grave.If depression symptoms are ignored for too long, it can turn into chronic depression. Early detection of the signs of depression can help individuals heal from this mental health condition and live a healthy, fulfilling life.

2)Who should you approach in the first step of help-seeking?

To begin the journey of seeking help for depression, individuals need to first open up to their loved ones. Build a network of trusted friends and family members. Knowing they are not alone in the journey can help patients maintain a positive outlook.

3) Does treatment for depression take time?

The process of recovering from depression can vary. Both the patient and mental health expert need to take their time. Being patient will undoubtedly help the recovery process.

Some final words of advice

If you are suffering from the symptoms of depression, you should definitely think about seeking help. Do things at your own pace, letting go of the fear of social stigma. Opening up to the ones close to you is the first step towards healing. Once you have done that, you can gradually take steps towards seeking medical help.

The good news is that, at present, you can search for medical help in various ways, both online and offline. If you are worried about being judged, Gita Sawhney might be just the right psychotherapist for you. She provides mental health support to those who need it, irrespective of race, gender, etc. She also treats people from the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized sections of society.

So embrace a journey to healing today. Learn how to love yourself and live life to the fullest!

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