Depression: Recognizing the Signs of a Silent Killer

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Sometimes, those who are laughing the hardest are simply attempting to drown the unspeakable sadness within.

Depression has a number of faces and a many different names. It is a successful corporate executive with a net worth in millions, an old church lady who seems happy serving the community, a popular celebrity the world worships, or a mother of three in a seemingly happy family.

Depression wears a mask. You won’t easily recognize it no matter how many times you bump into it. It is a silent stalker, a hidden burden affecting more than 350 million people globally. It is the world’s leading cause of disability, major contributor of disease, and one of the leading causes of suicide. It affects men and women of all ages.

How to Recognize Depression

Depression, when left unchecked, may become a serious mental health condition. It can cause the sufferer to feel generally unhappy and function poorly at home, school and work. At worst, it can lead to suicide, which accounts for an estimated 1 million deaths annually. Thus, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of depression. You could just save a family, friend or colleague – or even yourself – by doing so.

  • Sudden mood change, usually from being very sad to being very calm or happy
  • Increased irritability or anxiety
  • Difficulty in concentrating and forgetfulness
  • Constant talking or thinking about death
  • Talking about killing one’s self (many suicide victims of depression were reported to have talked about suicide to a friend or family)
  • Deep sadness, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest, and eating problems
  • Taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving too fast
  • Losing interest in hobbies or things one used to care about
  • Feeling of worthlessness, saying things like “It would be better if I were dead”
  • Tying up loose ends, such as creating a will
  • Getting in touch with people one cares about
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What to Do When You or Someone You Know Have Depression

Cultivate supportive relationships. If you are the one affected by this mental illness, avoid isolating yourself. Turn to trusted friends and family members, keep up with social activities even when you don’t feel like it, or much better join a support group.

Seek medical help. Depression can be easily cured when recognized and treated earlier. However, about two-thirds of major depression sufferers never seek professional help, resulting to devastating consequences: health problems, broken marriages, personal suffering and, at worst, suicide. If you find your depression getting worse every day, seek the help of mental health professionals.

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