More than half the people who experience symptoms of depression do not seek treatment. You may feel something is wrong, but a self-diagnosis often just amounts to: “I must just be having a really, really bad day.” However, if a “bad day” becomes several consecutive and increasingly bad days, it’s likely you are experiencing some form of depression, a debilitating and potentially life-threatening physical and psychological disorder. Thankfully, depression can be diagnosed and treated. Here are some signs that you may be suffering from something much more serious than a “bad day” and should seek medical help.
Author Andrew Solomon has written extensively about his struggles with depression. In its earliest stages, he first noticed he was feeling detached from and “constantly bored” by events that he otherwise would have found stimulating, including the publication and positive critical reception of his first novel. Solomon lost interest in attending social events, one-on-one conversation, and even sex. A complete loss of interest in activities that once fully engaged your attention is an early indicator of depression.
In addition to mental anguish, physical pain, including pain from digestive problems, tension headaches, back or muscle aches, and chest pain similar to what one experiences when having a heart attack, often accompanies depression. Stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, all by-products of depression, can constrict your muscles, produce excessive stomach acid, and increase your blood pressure. If you’re experiencing these symptoms consistently for several days, visit your doctor or the nearest emergency room so you can be properly diagnosed.
We separated insomnia from the other above named physical ailments since sleep disorders, including insomnia, can bring on depression or be a symptom resulting from it. On the other hand, extended wakefulness can improve the brain’s neurotransmitter system, and some doctors believe insomnia may be an attempt by the body to combat and stop the onset of depression. To make things even more confusing, a third of people with depression oversleep, rather than lose sleep. If you are experiencing a sleep disorder, be it too much sleep or not enough, this may be an indicator of depression.