Depression in Your Body
More than just melancholy or sadness, major depressive disorder (commonly known as clinical depression) is a diagnosable psychiatric condition that affects each person differently. However, it’s important and useful to know the most common signs and symptoms of depression; in fact, that’s the first step in combating depression: defining what it means to be clinically depressed in the first place.
Being mindful of the signs and symptoms of clinical depression can help you better understand what you’re experiencing. It also gives you the ability to report your symptoms to your health-care professional so that they are better able to help you. If your therapist or doctor understands what you’re feeling or experiencing when you’re showing symptoms of depression, they will be better equipped to help you begin the healing process.
Depression in Your Body
Living with clinical depression is mentally challenging, but it also comes with a host of physical challenges. Let’s more closely examine how depression may be affecting your body. Can you relate to any of these physical symptoms of depression, as listed in the DSM-5?
Sleeping too little (insomnia) or sleeping excessively (hypersomnia). Low energy and/or fatigue. Increased restlessness (shakiness, fidgeting, hand-wringing, pacing) or lethargy (slowed speech, slowed walking
Have you experienced any of the physical symptoms of depression? In the space that follows, list the symptoms you’ve felt in your body and explore how you usually cope with them. Maybe these manifestations of depression have been too challenging to cope with; that’s okay to admit. Take a candid look at your experiences with depression, and try not to judge yourself. Simply be honest.
Who Is at Risk for Depression?
You might have heard that depression can result from chemical imbalances in the brain. While this is a widely held, yet controversial, belief, on its website, Harvard Medical School stresses that this disease is too complex to assign one particular cause.
Depression can result from a variety of factors, including but not limited to genetics and serious illnesses, also certain medications, difficulty with mood regulation, and stressful life events. For instance, people who experience a death in the family, a divorce, or a traumatic event (such as past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse) are often at risk of developing depression. Sometimes there isn’t an identifiable cause for depression.
If that’s the case for you, you know how frustrating this can feel. However, just because you don’t know what caused you to be depressed doesn’t make it any less real.
Depression is as legitimate as any medical condition, and the reality is that sometimes we just don’t know what causes it. The good news is that even if we don’t know the cause, we do know that it’s an extremely treatable condition.