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Depression can affect anyone at any time. There are many reasons that a person can succumb to depressive thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if you are just feeling down or if you are experiencing depression. Knowing the signs of depression and learning supportive techniques to combat symptoms will help you manage the weight of your experience. 

Depression is never meant to be managed alone. If you or a loved one are exhibiting signs of depression, there is support for you. With a strong support system and the right resources that meet your needs, it is possible to manage and eventually overcome depression. 

What Is Depression?

Depression can occur at any age. Oftentimes people may think that feeling sad sometimes is a sign of depression. However, depression is a chronic illness. 

Traditional symptoms of depression have to be present for at least two weeks before receiving a complete diagnosis. Depression can also appear at varying levels of intensity for each person. The five different levels of depression are categorized differently: 

  1. Major depressive disorder (MDD): MDD is the most severe case of depression, altering a person’s daily habits, behaviors, and functions
  2. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): Seasonal affective disorder occurs as the seasons change, and the body has trouble adjusting to decreased sunlight
  3. Perinatal depression: Can be triggered before or after the birth of a child 
  4. Persistent depressive disorder: Not as debilitating as major depression, but it is chronic, lasting more than two years 
  5. Depressive psychosis: Categorized as depression accompanied by delusional thoughts, feelings, and/or audiovisual hallucinations

With five fairly different levels of depression, there are fortunately many pathways to the right mental health support for you. If you or a loved one are experiencing any signs of depression for more than two weeks, you must seek help immediately. 

Dangers of Untreated Depression

Left untreated, depression can lead to a variety of complications and misguided efforts to self-medicate, including: 

  • Higher risk for substance abuse 
  • Getting involved or staying in unsafe situations
  • Potential thoughts of harming yourself or others 

Depression is often categorized by prolonged bouts of sadness. However, it is important to understand that depression can present in other ways. Keeping track of your symptoms can help you give an accurate description to your healthcare provider so that you can get the best treatment possible. 

If you or a loved one have thoughts of harming yourself or others, contact 911 or the new Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988.

What Are the Signs of Depression?

Depression can present itself in different ways, depending on the person and their unique circumstances. It is also possible for someone experiencing depression to exhibit little to no symptoms, making it challenging to identify their true mental health needs. 

Learning the potential signs of depression can help you be proactive with your mental health or with the mental health of someone you care about. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, some of the more common signs of depression include: 

  • Feelings of emptiness or numbness 
  • Prolonged feelings of sadness, grief, or frustration 
  • Difficulty with sleep, meaning too much or too little
  • Loss of interest in activities and social connections 
  • Changes in appetite
  • Physical aches and pains, including headaches, digestive issues, skin flare-ups, etc.

It is also important to note how long these symptoms persist. If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms for two weeks or more, then it may be time to seek further support.  

How Can I Learn to Manage Depressive Symptoms?

Managing depression takes time, patience, and consistency. Oftentimes, people don’t know where to turn for help, so they may turn to substances and other harmful behaviors to cope with depression. Learning helpful techniques and actively applying them allows you to develop new habits that support a greater sense of health and well-being. 

Some of the healthier ways to manage depression are: 

  • Getting into a fun or educational activity 
  • Talking to a friend 
  • Seeking guidance or counsel from a therapist, pastor, mentor, or another trusted person
  • Going out and doing something new, like meeting new people 
  • Journaling
  • Moving around
  • Getting some fresh air 
  • Eating a balanced diet 
  • Trying to get good sleep
  • Breathwork and meditation 

Fortunately, a wide range of healthy coping mechanisms is available to help you manage depression and its symptoms. During treatment, the greatest aspect of your healing journey is that you and your needs are at the forefront of your treatment plan. Studies show that collaborative mental healthcare involving the client, their healthcare team, and their support system produces better results than following a one size fits all model of healing. 

You can overcome the symptoms of depression by finding better ways to manage and overcome stressors and triggers. By crafting a treatment plan that truly serves you and meets your needs, you will ensure that you are getting the best overall treatment for your well-being. It will likely require a combination of tools and practices to get a good balance for your needs. 

At West Coast Recovery Centers, we believe in the power of collaborative and holistic healthcare. We have seen that a “one-size-fits-all approach” does not apply when it comes to mental health. Instead, we offer traditional and holistic methods of healing to address your recovery needs. 

Depression has a way of affecting your daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. If you aren’t aware of its effects, it is easy for depression to slowly override your general perspective and attitude. You can learn how to identify and stay ahead of depressive symptoms. West Coast Recovery Centers can guide you to understand and navigate your experience with depression. By learning what resonates with you, it can be easier to incorporate meaningful practices and techniques into your daily life that help you manage your symptoms. Our team members are available to help you navigate your thoughts and feelings for a better quality of life. Contact us at (760) 492-6509 today to get direct support with your mental health needs.

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