Symptoms of Depression - Red flags that a common man can look out for

Depression is a condition that has been present amongst us for several years. People aware of its existence or having some information about it may have reported experiencing it first-hand. People not aware about its existence may talk about it manifesting in different forms.
Although there are specific diagnostic criteria and assessment techniques that help clinicians and trained professionals diagnose depression, there are certain signs that can be observed even by someone who is not trained to identify if the person may be experiencing depression, which would allow them to seek help at the earliest.
There are several red flags that a common man can look out for. Before we get into knowing what the red flags are, it is important to remember that although these red flags may be present we are not trained to jump to a diagnosis. We can however approach a mental health professional to clear our doubts and get the correct help.
Certain red flags of depression would include the person experiencing low moods, tiredness or fatigue frequently. Waking up in the morning even after adequate sleep, may seem like a task to the person. A person may often mention wanting to spend some more time in bed or may actually end up sleeping more than what they did usually. There is also a possibility that the person may try to sleep but may not get sleep and we may observe that the person is sleeping less than usual.
Changes in the person’s eating habits may present themselves, that is either the person is eating more when they are feeling low or they may reduce their food intake sighting reasons like not feeling like eating, even if it is something that they usually like to eat.
Something that is easily observed but we may tend to miss easily as well is that the person may want to stay away from others.
The person may not participate or show little to no interest in activities which they would usually like to do.
Interacting with others may seem like too much of effort for the person. Limited response while speaking and not having much to say may also be present. Increase in instances of crying or tearing up and being more sensitive to regular feedback can be observed.
Saying things like wanting to end it all or not finding life worth living are signs that need to be addressed immediately and not ignored.
Having less or no hope about the future or not looking forward to things is present.
A person may also tend to blame self for everything that goes wrong but may also not feel like asking for help.
They may mention others not being able to understand them and may feel distressed about this.
In teenagers and young adults’ irritation is observed more often.
The mentioned signs can be observed over a time duration of them being present for 2 to 3 weeks and the change is observable as the person may have behaved differently prior to this.
Not being able to do daily tasks or not feeling like going to work can also be possible signs of depression. There is also a possibility that the person may indulge in their everyday activities and may also laugh and smile with us and seem happy however small details can be observed such as the effort they feel the need to put in, critical view of self, being indifferent and participating only because they have to and not because they want to. Distancing self in most situations.
To sum it up depression is an illness that can be treated if timely intervention for the same is provided through mental health professionals and this is possible only if we are aware and observant of the red flags and can provide support to the person or if observed in self, can seek help ourselves.

Image source-Google

Vikram Kirtikar

Vikram Kirtikar

Psychologist & Outreach Associate, Mpower – The Foundation