Depression is more than a low mood. She can have many faces, so even close family members often overlook the warning signs. However, it is important to recognize the disease quickly because the chances of recovery decrease as the depression progresses. Depressed people withdraw more and more and in the end often only have one wish: They want to die.
Depressed people often feel a deep, inner emptiness and sadness. Those affected are depressed and desperate. Existential fears, self-reproach and the feeling of not being loved determine their thoughts. Joylessness and listlessness prevent active participation in life. Depressed people find themselves in a whirlpool of hopelessness and cannot make it out of it on their own. They feel worthless, long for affection, but often fail to accept it. They push others away even though they really need their help.
According to the Barmer / GEK health insurance company, every sixth person suffers from a depressive disorder at some point in their life. Women are affected about twice as often as men. About 19 percent of women and 12 percent of men would get real depression . This means that even if you are not affected yourself, the chances of knowing someone with this disease are very high.
The risk of depression increases with age: around 20 percent of people over 65 are depressed, according to the Barmer / GEK. The bad thing: The symptoms of the disease creep into life bit by bit and initially go unnoticed. The line between a pure disorder and depression is blurred.
Identifying signs of depression early
It is important that depression is recognized as early as possible and that initial indications of it are taken seriously. About half of all depressed people get well again within the first three months, for a quarter it can take over a year, according to the health insurance company. 70 percent of the newly ill would go through phases of depression again and again in later life .
Among other things, people with a pessimistic view of the world or those who live alone are often affected. But also very performance-oriented and responsible people who are strict about themselves have an increased risk.
In addition to hereditary factors, stress such as unemployment , separations and deaths can also trigger depression. However, excessive and insufficient demands as well as psychological conflicts can pave the way to the disease.
Anyone who knows someone who is going through a difficult phase of life should remain attentive: Does the other person’s thinking, feeling and acting change? How is his physical health? Is it difficult for him to make decisions? Does he seem passive, absent, or does he cry a lot? Is it difficult for him to get out of bed? It may only be a short episode. However, if the symptoms and behavioral changes persist, depression can be behind it.
Many depressed people have language difficulties and can hardly remember events. Often the voice and facial expressions also change. The language can also become quieter. Those affected are no longer interested in their environment and withdraw. Suddenly they are afraid of situations that they were able to master well in the past and the future is also worrying.
But not only certain changes in behavior indicate depression, but also physical complaints. Digestive problems can occur as well as dry mouth, dizziness, racing heart, back pain or headache . A bent posture can also be used. Despite being tired, depressed people often cannot sleep and suddenly wake up at night.
Many describe a feeling of pressure in the head. Often there is also the fear of having other diseases. Many fear financial ruin. The desire for sex also decreases. Some people feel more comfortable in the dark than during the day.
According to the Barmer / GEK, doctors advise acting as soon as the depressed mood persists for more than two weeks and several of the following symptoms are recognizable, which indicate depression:
- Depressive moods increase and no longer go away
- It is difficult to get “going”. Those affected feel down and powerless. Many don’t get out of bed anymore.
- Those affected feel friendless. Interest in activities that were otherwise fun is waning.
- It is difficult to focus, remember, or make decisions.
- Confidence and self-esteem dwindle.
- Self-blame or inappropriate guilt creep into the mind.
- Those affected are either restless and nervous or they hardly move.
- Sleep disorders occur.
- People who are depressed often suffer from loss of appetite or suddenly eat a lot.
- Depressed men, in contrast to women, express their depression more often in strong irritability and aggressiveness, many do not admit the disease to themselves.
- The thoughts keep revolving around death. Many think of suicide.
What is the treatment for depression ?
Depression can usually be treated well with medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy, such as behavioral therapy. In some cases, other methods such as light therapy or what is known as waking therapy can also be used for therapy.