Fitness Facts: Am I just sad or should I be concerned about depression?
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. This number represents 7.1% of all U.S. adults.
A certain amount of sadness is a normal part of each of our lives. It is a normal human emotion that often is triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging or disappointing event, experience or situation.
This also means that when that something changes, when our emotional hurt fades and we have adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness improves.
When sadness does not improve it becomes a concern that the sadness is turning into depression. But how do you know?
If you have five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you should seek help for depression:
- A depressed or irritable mood most of the time
- A loss or decrease of pleasure or interest in most activities, including ones that had been interesting or pleasurable previously
- Significant changes in weight or appetite
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Excessive intake of alcohol or drugs
- Disturbances in falling asleep or sleeping too much
- Feeling slowed down in your movements or restless most days
- Feeling tired, sluggish and having low energy most days
- Having feelings of worthless or excessive guilt most days
- Experiencing problems with thinking, focus, concentration, creativity and the ability to make decisions most days
- Having thoughts of dying or suicide
It is also important to note that depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss or a change of circumstance as a trigger. It often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine — they would even admit this is true — and yet they still feel horrible.
Depression is an extremely common mental illness, and there are many treatments that benefit most people. Seeking help early can help avoid a major depressive issue.
If you are concerned that you or someone you love is exhibiting these symptoms, seek help with a professional licensed counselor!
Some resources to help you find a qualified counselor are:
GCU Today: Fitness Facts: Restful minds
GCU Today: Fitness Facts: Overcoming anxiety