Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just won’t go away, you may have depression. Depression is a common mental health disorder. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2017.
Whether you have not been diagnosed or have been treating your depression for years, you may still experience a depressive episode. No matter how hopeless you feel when experiencing a depressive episode, you can get help. By understanding the warning signs of a depressive episode, you can take the first steps towards seeking help and overcoming the problem.
#1. Losing Interest in Hobbies and Activities
Have you ever suddenly, or over a short period of time, lost interest in something you enjoy doing? Maybe you skip out on practicing a sport or instrument, or you start to bail on plans with friends more often. It’s not that you have more pressing matters to attend to; it’s that you simply don’t have the mental, physical, or emotional energy to engage in a hobby or spend time with friends.
The clinical term for this loss of interest is anhedonia. There are several theories about how this symptom functions in the brain. Many believe that depression “shuts down” the brain’s pleasure circuits. They believe depression reduces the capacity to feel joy.
Others believe anhedonia comes not from a reduced capacity to experience pleasure but from an inability to sustain good feelings over time. They believe joy is experienced fully, but only briefly — not long enough to maintain interest or involvement in life’s good things.
#2. Sudden Loss of Energy and Excitement
Constantly feeling fatigued can be a symptom of other issues. However, it is no secret that depressive episodes and chronic exhaustion often go hand in hand. Depressive episodes can affect our natural sleep patterns in a variety of ways.
You may have trouble getting to sleep at night and thus lose out on a full eight hours, or you may find that you’re sleeping more than usual but still feeling exhausted. Both a lack of sleep and excessive sleep can be byproducts of a depressive episode. These issues coincide with the loss of interest in hobbies and socializing, which can exacerbate the feelings of sadness and unfulfillment that are creeping in.
#3. Low Sex Drive and Aversion to Intimacy
If you find that your libido has suddenly taken a dive or that you are reluctant to be intimate with another person in any way, you may be in the throes of a depressive episode.
Researchers are still studying the connection between depressive episodes and sudden libido changes. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that depressive episodes and chronic depression both have a negative impact on our sex drives.
Low libido can be challenging to address with your partner, as you may not want to make them feel unwanted or hurt. Thus, the issue compounds, and you feel worse and are maybe less likely to reach out to a professional for help. If you do reach out, you may find that discussing your sex life with your therapist is difficult; this is understandable. However, it is worth it to discuss this issue.
#4. Irritability and Impatience
When you’re suffering from a depressive episode, another common symptom is irritability. If you find you are struggling with depression symptoms combined with shorter patience with others, you could be experiencing a depressive episode.
Irritability and impatience with loved ones can cause us to alienate ourselves out of guilt or frustration with our actions, which can exacerbate feelings of sadness and loneliness.
In men with depression, irritability is common. However, men are less likely to reach out and seek help from a professional, which can cause more problems. That’s why it is essential to seek help when you feel you are struggling with your mental and emotional health.
#5. Engaging in Risky and Destructive Behavior
Self-destructive behavior is closely linked with various mental health issues. During a depressive episode, you may try to shake up the misery and mundanity by acting out in multiple ways.
Substance abuse is one of the more significant examples of self-destructive behavior that is associated with depressive episodes. Many people attempt to self-medicate through substance abuse as a means to cope with their depression. If you find that you are drinking a bit more than usual or are engaging in other risky behaviors, you may be going through a depressive episode.
Many people struggle with depression and depressive episodes. Whether you have never been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or have been treating your disorder for years, a depressive episode can occur. Looking out for common signs of a depressive episode can help you recognize when it is time to seek help. Achieve Concierge is here to help you work through depressive episodes as they come through a variety of different tactics and strategies. Our staff has years of experience working with people who struggle with their mental and emotional health. Our team is prepared to help you whenever a depressive episode comes on, from same-day mental health services to telemedicine. We tailor each treatment plan to meet the different needs of each patient. You can rest assured that you are getting the comprehensive care that you need and deserve. To learn more about how we can help you overcome depressive episodes, call Achieve Concierge today at (619) 393-5871.