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  • Writer's pictureRenata Webster


Depression is a mental illness that affects millions of people around the world. 1 in 7 Australians will experience depression in their lifetime, and 1 in 16 Australians is currently experiencing depression. Depression can cause significant disruption to daily life and significantly lower its quality. Also, when untreated, depression can induce various physical health problems, strain relationships, increase the use of substances and alcohol, and, worse comes to worst, increase the risk of suicide.

Thus, it is critical to identify depression symptoms early, take them seriously and seek professional help.

But how do you spot these symptoms and distinguish them from situational sadness that comes and goes and is normal for a human? It is quite straightforward. You need to pay attention to two major things:

  1. Depressed, sad mood most of the day, nearly every day.

  2. Markedly diminished pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day, nearly every day.

These two signs should be observed by yourself or others during the same 2-week period and represent the significant change from the previous functioning.

If you notice both or one of these symptoms in two weeks, it is enough to book a consultation with your GP. However, you can also pay attention to the following additional signs of depression:

  1. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (5% of body weight in a month) or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

  2. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.

  3. You become unusually fast and restless or, vice versa, your movements become slow and sluggish nearly every day.

  4. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

  5. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

  6. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).

  7. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying); recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan; a specific suicide plan.

If you can account for four or more signs from the above seven in addition to the first two, you might meet the full criteria for major depressive disorder.

However, it must be confirmed by a medical professional.

Remember, depression is a treatable illness, and seeking help is the first step towards recovery. If you are feeling depressed, know that you are not alone and that there are people and resources available to support you through this difficult time.

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