Psychiatry Associates Blog

Am I Suffering From Depression?

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Honestly asking yourself questions about mental health can be one of the toughest things a person has to do. Whether it is during a walk around the LSU lakes or at the Baton Rouge soccer fields, these questions may take over your mind when you least expect them. It is important to be armed with the right information in order to face these questions head on. Generally, you can rationalize, justify, or explain away anything you don't want to face. Unfortunately, taking this approach only delays the realization that you may not be able to tackle this alone. 

Knowing the common symptoms of depression is the first step to answering any questions about your current mental health. Once you are educated on the symptoms, you can determine if you are experiencing similar symptoms. We have compiled a list below of five common signs of depression for your reference. If you are suffering from any of the listed symptoms, you should consult with your physician. 

Is Fatigue A Sign of Depression?

A study reported in the 2004 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine indicated people who are depressed are more than four times as likely to develop unexplained fatigue, and those who suffer from fatigue are nearly three times as likely to become depressed. Fatigue can often times be confused with being tired, but the two are completely separate. Tired is the result of expending a lot of physical or mental energy, but fatigue causes you to feel run down and lethargic, regardless of the amount of energy you have expended. 

How Is Self-Loathing Related to Depression?

Self-loathing is when you experience strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and you harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes. A research study performed by the University of Warwick used MRI scans of the brain to determine that depression frequently seems to uncouple the brain's 'hate circuit'.

The study concluded that this uncoupling of the brain can make it hard for those suffering from depression to cope with firm feelings towards others, and they often turn these tough feelings to hatred of themselves. Self-loathing is extremely arduous to recognize alone, and it should be diagnosed by a professional

Does Depression Affect Concentration Levels?

A research study performed by the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas provides empirical proof that a depressive mood accompanied by hopeless thoughts can impede concentration and memory. In the study, researchers found that individuals with a depressed mood showed as much as a 12 percent reduction in memory compared to individuals who are not in a dejected state. Anything requiring consistent or sustained attention is negatively impacted by depression. The concentration required to read a book at home, to participate in a conversation at work, or to watch a movie with a loved one are all affected by depression.  

Can Depression Cause Drastic Fluctuation in Body Weight?

A study at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) supports the connection between abdominal obesity and depression. During a 15-year period, individuals who reported high levels of depression initially gained weight faster than others in the study. Why are weight and depression so intertwined? The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls emotion, but it is also the part of the brain that manages the appetite. When emotions are disturbed, then the appetite of the person experiencing these disruptions will similarly be affected. 

Are Aches and Pains Caused by Depression?

According to the Mayo Clinic, pain and depression are very closely related. Much like binge eating and depression, either one can lead to the other. Pain as a result of depression, sometimes referred to as phantom pain, is most often found in headaches or back pain that is not associated with a diagnosed problem. Granted, most of the time, a headache is just a headache. So how does one tell the difference? If it is a constantly occurring headache, or back pain that doesn't go away with medication, you will want to talk to your doctor. 

These five symptoms of depression are some of the more common ones, but there are many other signs. Depression can manifest itself in numerous ways, or in only one. If one or a few of these symptoms apply to you, it is important to know that the next step towards feeling better is simply talking to someone.  

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Topics: Depression