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How does one recognize the first signs of depression?


Remember how J.K. Rowling described Dementors in her Harry Potter books? It's a beautiful metaphor for how the first symptoms set in always a sudden drain of energy, leaving you feeling completely exhausted. The thing is, your question isn't so straightforward because recognizing the first symptoms of depression in yourself is quite different from recognizing them in others. Often, when we talk about depression and self-diagnosis, it's almost impossible. It's important only to know that depression is always preceded by a lack of energy and focus, as well as apathy toward everything happening. Therefore, it's easier not to recognize the first signs of depression but to prevent them. 

As for recognizing depression in others, especially in loved ones, it's a necessary step to take to help in time. 

In any case, it's still better to consult a specialist for the diagnosis of depression. It doesn't matter if it’s a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist. They always work together to combat depression and its various symptoms and stages. And they will definitely find help and solutions for you or your loved ones. 

However, there are some questions you can ask yourself that may make you feel more confident and determined to seek help from a specialist. 

How does depression differ from a bad mood? What symptoms should be considered alarming? When should you seek help from a specialist? 

Experiencing negative emotions is normal, and a healthy person may experience them. They serve an important function, signaling the presence of a problem. In this case, negative emotions become a trigger for you to change your behavior in the future and reinforce new behavior with accompanying success or problem resolution. 

When it comes to depression, you should be alerted by the following symptoms: 

  • A bad mood and/or increased irritability almost all day long for a prolonged period 
  • Decreased interest in life and an inability to experience pleasure 
  • Decreased levels of activity 
These symptoms become noticeable even to not-so-close people and indicate that a person needs attention and help.
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