Signs of Severe Depression
A person who is severely depressed may exhibit some or all of the following signs:
• Persistent sadness or feelings of emptiness
• Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
• Constant fatigue or loss of energy
• Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
• Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
• Irritability, anxiety, or restlessness
• Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
If you have been experiencing these symptoms for more than two weeks, it is vital to see a doctor. Untreated depression can lead to serious health problems. Early recognition and treatment are essential for preventing more severe problems from developing. Seek help if you think you may be depressed. There are many effective treatments available.
Depression is ubiquitous- about 26% of all adults in the United States will experience major depression at one time or another during their lives.
Only 25 to 33 percent of those who need treatment for depression seek help from a mental health professional.
There are nearly 13 million cases of clinical depression in America alone, and an additional 2.5 million cases go unreported and undiagnosed. About half of these cases occur in women between the ages of 20 and 50.
Depression can affect anyone at any age; even children may feel depressed. The elderly population has the highest rate per capita; up to 40% report feeling depressed (Brody, 2000).
Untreated depression is a severe problem. It can lead to suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and other health problems.
How is severe depression treated?
There are many different ways to treat severe depression. The most common treatments are antidepressant medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Antidepressant medications are the primary treatment for severe depression. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate moods. There are a variety of antidepressant medications available, and each person may respond differently to different medications. It may take some time and experimentation to find the medication that works best for you.
Therapy is also an essential part of treating severe depression. Therapy can help you understand the cause of your depression and learn ways to cope with it. There are a variety of therapies available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.
Lifestyle changes can also help reduce symptoms of severe depression. These changes may include exercise, diet, and relaxation techniques.
Signs of severe depression in the elderly:
1. If your loved one talks about suicide / wanting to die / not caring if they live or die, then you should look into it seriously.
2. Strong wish to be dead or a desire to kill oneself is a sign of severe depression in the elderly.
3. Extreme mood swings are also common symptoms of severe depression in the elderly. At times they will be calm and keep quiet; otherwise, there can be very angry abruptly. They may even lash out at people for reasons others would consider trivial. Or, the other way around, they might start crying for no reason at all!
4. They might quit taking care of their hygiene or even stop feeding themselves.
5. If they are always reluctant to go out or meet people, or if they withdraw from social events and gatherings entirely, then you should look into it seriously.
6. Always falling sick frequently with vague complaints like body ache, fever, etc., is also a sign of severe depression in the elderly.
7. Loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy earlier can be another symptom of severe depression in the elderly.
8. Not being able to concentrate on anything, loss of memory are all signs of severe depression in the elderly.
9. Excessive sleepiness/sleeplessness is also common among depressed ones! 10. Older adults suffering from severe depression might also develop delusions or hallucinations.
Physical signs of severe depression:
1. Loss of appetite and weight loss
2. Fatigue and decreased energy
3. Restlessness, agitation, or irritability
4. Sleeping too much or too little
5. Feeling worthless, helpless, or hopeless
6. Thoughts of suicide or death
7. Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
8. Psychomotor agitation (uncontrollable movements) or retardation (sluggishness)
9. Increased guilt, shame or self-blame
10. Decreased interest in activities once enjoyed
Ten signs of severe depression:
1. The lack of interest in doing anything
2. Feeling sad, hopeless, and worthless most of the time (Remember this is different from feeling sad when something wrong happens to you)
3. Extreme changes in appetite or weight (either way)
4. Sleeping too much or too little
5. Talking about suicide or wanting to die, feeling like a burden
6. Feeling extraordinarily restless and agitated (unable to sit still) or sluggish and slow (feeling like moving even an inch is difficult). Note: One may notice either of these two kinds of physical restlessness/agitation / psychomotor retardation in severe depression!
7. Not being able to concentrate well/poor memory/forgetfulness
8. Having thoughts of death or suicide constantly
9. Feeling guilty, shameful, and self-hating most of the time
10. Losing interest in activities that used to make you happy.
Clinical signs of severe depression:
1. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
2. Hallucinations or delusions
3. Severe mood swings
4. Inability to concentrate, think, or make decisions
5. Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
6. Sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia)
7. Changes in appetite or weight
8. Psychomotor agitation or retardation
9. Fatigue and loss of energy
10. Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
Common signs of severe depression:
1. Thoughts of suicide or death
2. Severe mood swings
3. Inability to concentrate, think or make decisions
4. Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
5. Sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia)
6. Changes in appetite or weight
7. Psychomotor agitation or retardation
8. Fatigue and loss of energy
9. Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
10. Feeling like a burden to others.
What to do if you think someone is severely depressed:
1. Talk to them openly and non-judgmentally about your concerns. Do not be critical or dismissive.
2. Show them that you care and want to help, even if they refuse to talk or seem unwilling to get help.
3. Encourage them to seek professional help from a mental health specialist or doctor.
4. Offer to go with them to their appointments or help them make arrangements for transportation if needed.
5. Assist them in finding resources and support groups for people with depression.
6. Stay in touch, offer support, and check in on them regularly