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How to tell if you’re depressed – the early signs

by Lorraine Moore, Group Managing Director, Claimont Health

Your mental health can sometimes be hard to accept, acknowledge and truly understand – and you may be suffering from a mental health condition without even being aware of it. 

Depression is the most predominant mental health condition worldwide, followed by anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and it’s a problem that all of us may face within our lifetime. 

It’s estimated that around 1 in 6 people in the UK on any given week experience a common mental health problem such as depression, proving anyone can be vulnerable to the mental illness. This information proves it’s important that you know how to tell if you’re depressed or struggling with a similar condition. 

Identifying the early signs of depression can help you take the most appropriate course of action in the quickest possible fashion so you can effectively treat the condition. 


What is depression? 

Naturally, all of us go through periods where we feel down, but depression is different from the usual lows we experience in life. When struggling with depression, you persistently feel sad for weeks, sometimes even months, rather than just a few days.

Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which can stop you from doing the normal activities you love. There are a number of different types of depression, and signs and symptoms often differ between them. Symptoms can range from minor to severe, and they are often caused by a number of different events and factors that can occur in someone’s life. 

Symptoms of depression include feeling unhappy or hopeless, low self-esteem and finding no pleasure in things you usually enjoy. However, everyone is affected differently from depression and could experience any of the early signs of depression listed below. 


What are the early signs of depression? 

There are a number of early depression signs that you can use to understand whether you may be suffering from the condition. The signs of depression usually vary between individual cases, with the severity and stage of the depression dictating how you feel. 

Frequent low moods – low moods can become frequent and hard to overcome and this is a common early sign of depression that many individuals face when being diagnosed with the condition.

Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness – life can begin to appear very overwhelming and you may begin to struggle to balance all aspects of your daily routine, leading to feelings of hopelessness that can be hard to defeat. 

Low self-esteem – another common sign of depression is low self-esteem, you may begin to feel less self-worth and value in yourself, pulling yourself down and feeling less confidence and respect for yourself as an individual. 

No motivation – another early sign of depression is no motivation. This can be in work, in your social life, or even getting out of bed in the morning. Everyone’s motivation can be affected differently by depression, however, this is a very common symptom. 

Loss of interest in daily activities – the things you once enjoyed doing are no longer appealing, and you may lose interest in daily activities that once gave you fulfilment, no matter how hard you try. 

Appetite or weight changes – significant weight loss or weight gain can be a sign that you are suffering from depression; through either under or overeating and drastic changes in your diet. 

Sleep changes – another early sign of depression is changes in your level of sleep. Depression can affect sleep through both insomnia or oversleeping and often differs depending on the individual. Many people ask ‘Is always being tired a sign of depression?’, and the answer quite simply is yes. However, no sleep can also be a sign something isn’t right. 

Anxiety and worrying – general anxiety about your life and feelings of worry can be another sign you are depressed. It can become harder to relax both inside and outside of working hours, further worsening the state of your mental health. 

Anger or irritability – you may become short-tempered and annoyed by things, with a tendency to become irritable and stressed over things you once wouldn’t. 

Difficulty concentrating and making decisions – an early sign of depression can be finding it hard to focus and think rationally, reducing your ability to make difficult decisions. 

Loss of energy – general feelings of fatigue are common in the early stages of depression, and you may feel you have less energy to get up and tackle the day. This is another one of the most common signs you have depression that many individuals experience. 

Self-loathing – you may feel strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt, harshly criticising yourself for perceived faults and mistakes and putting the blame on yourself in circumstances where it may not be necessary. 

Reckless behaviour – a common early sign of depression is engaging in escapist behaviour such as drinking and drug abuse, smoking, gambling and more. This can in turn drive your depression into a worse state.

Unexplained aches and pains – depression can lead to an increase in physical pain such as headaches, aching muscles, back pain, stomach pain and more that may begin to appear without any physical reason. 

Self-harm and suicidal thoughts – with severe and persistent depression, you may begin to self-harm or feel suicidal thoughts. If this applies to you, you should look to seek help straight away. 


How do I know if I have depression?

If you are suffering from one or more of the early signs of depression listed above, there could be a chance that you are in the early stages of the mental illness. By booking an online mental health assessment with Claimont Health, we can analyse your current scenario and the feelings you are experiencing and provide you with a diagnosis. 

Also, to gain a better understanding as to whether you are suffering from depression, you can complete this quiz on the NHS website that helps gain an understanding of how you are feeling and the potential solutions to get you the help you need. 


Does depression require treatment? 

The type and nature of the depression you are suffering from often dictates whether you would need treatment. If you want to feel better quickly, an appropriate course of treatment can be exactly what you need to take your mind to a better state. With depression, the longer you leave the symptoms to play out, the more likely the depression is to escalate to a worse state. So it’s important you take the necessary action to receive the help you need sooner rather than later. 


How to get help for depression? 

There are a number of ways you can get help for depression, and all have different benefits. Private mental health care from the likes of Claimont Health can be exactly what you need to improve your mental health. If you want fast results with a care plan that is tailored around your exact circumstances, talk to a friendly face at Claimont Health today. 

For ten years, our team has provided highly personalised care to clients in the safety, familiarity and comfort of their home. We offer professional, convenient and discreet alternatives to psychiatric hospital admission and public health care. Talk to our team today for more.