Just not feeling quite right...
I know that this isn't the most uplifting of topics, but really important for your own wellness and for those around you. May is mental health awareness and suicide prevention month. Depression is a very serious problem, that can cause an array of health issues, but be easily overlooked by oneself and by people close to you. SOmetimes it is just a feeling of not being "right" or feeling "off" or being really sad or listless, and it can effect different age groups in different ways. This is a topic that is really important to me, and I think should be better screened for by HCP's in general, but I look towards patients and their family members to mention if you see any of these signs or symptoms because if you don't tell us what is really going on, it is very difficult for us to notice these symptoms during your appointment:
-Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
-Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
-Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
-Reduced sex drive
-Insomnia or excessive sleeping
-Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
-Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing, or new aggression
-Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
-Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
-Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
-Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren't going right
-Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
-Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
-Crying spells for no apparent reason
-Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches that aren't related to allergies, etc. that don't respond to OTC medications (i.e. ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
Young Children: can show signs of hopelessness, sadness, worry.
Teens: Can be irritable, anxious, angry, and avoid social interactions. Also, changes in sleep patterns....are they up all night for no reason? Sleeping excessively? We also need to be aware that during the teenage years is when other mental disorders can start to become prominent.
Elderly: fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of interest in sex, feel bored and helpless or worthless, and avoiding social interactions. With the elderly, there are usually other health issues involved, so people can tend to link in the symptoms of depression with their other disease processes, so it is important to b aware of the signs.
For some people the signs are really severe and very obvious, but for other people, they are very subtle and occur over a period of time making them much harder to notice. But, awareness of the signs is the first step, so please take notice in your own life and of your loved ones and do a mini checklist to see if they have these symptoms. If you or your loved ones do, please call your HCP and make an appointment to talk about it, OR if you want to talk to someone immediately, you can call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. I also encourage you to talk to anyone...a friend, family member, clergy member. Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with because the first step to getting help is to realize that there is a problem.
If you/your friends/loved ones have thoughts of suicide or homicide please seek help immediately and call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department for help.
Yours In Good Health