When people talk about depression, you’ll hear about the profound sadness, exhaustion, and disinterest. But that’s only part of the story. While these signs of depression are common, there are other, sometimes subtle but telling, symptoms you might miss. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues. It frequently affects millions of people every year. However, it is a very treatable condition. What’s vital is that individuals educate themselves about the signs of depression so they can get themselves or those they care about the appropriate support. Treatment Connection can give you a sense of what to expect.
If you feel depressed, you might sleep long hours (10 or more). In some cases, you do it because you’re tired. But it can also be a means to escape life.
However, others experience prolonged wakefulness and insomnia. You might struggle to fall asleep or wake up repeatedly at night.
To make matters worse, nearly a third of people with severe depression also suffer from frequent nightmares that make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Only around four percent of the general population reports frequent nightmares.
Nightmares aren’t always about monsters and scary things. These may also include frequent dreams about death, injury, or loss in addition to events that bring on shame, sadness, anger, or frantic feelings.
People who get their diagnosis by middle age have a much higher chance of developing dementia versus those who are not depressed. So it’s not surprising that trouble remembering things can be a sign.
When the brain is depressed, it shuts down certain emotional responses and functions. In fact, if you compare a brain of a person suffering from this condition with someone who has a generally healthy brain, you’d see a significant reduction in brain activity.
Storing, processing, and recalling memories is one of the most important mental tasks the brain has. But it can’t do it well when depressed.
Of course, chronic pain can lead to depression. They often go hand in hand. But often, it’s the other way around, even though many people fail to realize it.
In the same way, reduced brain activity affects memory. It also impacts the natural chemicals the brain produces to manage pain. So even a little ache can feel 10 times worse if you’re depressed.
Add to this that you may not be getting enough exercise, eating the healthiest foods, or maintaining the best posture because you’re tired or lack motivation. Chronic pain very commonly follows.
You might also have a generally negative outlook that causes you to focus on little pains. Focusing on something that hurts always makes it feel worse.
This is certainly not to say that the pain isn’t real. It feels as real as any pain. But if you have chronic pain that medical professionals are having trouble pinpointing a cause for, depression treatment may help.
Substance Use Disorder
They call it “self-medicating” for a reason. People experiencing depression may choose substances like alcohol, heroin, kratom, meth, LSD, marijuana, or cocaine.
Whether the substance is legal where you are or not, any substance that significantly alters the mind can harm.
Addiction may develop. And these change the brain’s structure, making the brain function worse when you’re not using it. These kinds of substances can also cause cognitive and mental health decline over time–not to mention other risks.
Substance misuse and depression are a vicious cycle. Both make each other worse. So if you’re being treated for either one, it’s important to get depression treatment and substance use disorder treatment simultaneously.
This is called dual diagnosis care.
What to Expect in Depression Treatment
Medication is only a piece of the mental health treatment puzzle. To manage symptoms like these, you need to get to the root causes of your condition.
This may involve actions like:
- Attending outpatient therapy
- Entering a residential treatment program
- Making certain lifestyle changes to improve your life situation, wellness, and joy in life
- Improving your nutrition and exercise routine
If you’re suffering from symptoms like these, know that you’re not alone. Help is available. Please explore your treatment options. You can start by using Treatment Connection’s online Treatment Needs Assessment tool.