Depression Signs & Effects

Everyone faces periods of time in their lives where sadness or despair washes over them. However, when that sadness is present alongside pervasive feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, one might be clinically depressed. Depression is a mental health disorder that can negatively impact all areas of an individual’s life, including one’s ability to sleep, maintain a steady weight, and carry out everyday tasks. Should symptoms of depression continue without intervention, those who suffer with this disorder might begin to isolate themselves from others, have trouble upholding responsibilities, and struggle with suicidal ideations. In addition, those who battle with a depressive disorder might start to self-harm or attempt suicide.

Unfortunately, many of those who battle with depression are also facing symptoms of an eating disorder. Whether it is binge-eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, or anorexia, the tremendous feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness can cause extreme despair in one’s life. Furthermore, these individuals are at an increased risk for going through a number of adverse health effects if they do not find ways to control their eating disorders and the behaviors that come with them.

Fortunately, depression is a highly treatable disorder, and there are options that can help address the symptoms of co-occurring depression and eating disorders. Treatment options can include the use of medications to relieve symptoms of depression, education that helps individuals recognize symptoms of eating disorders and depression, and therapeutic interventions that teach appropriate coping skills to those who battle with both illnesses. Engaging in these forms of interventions can significantly improve the lives of those who struggle with these mental illnesses. By obtaining such services, those who struggle with depression and co-occurring eating disorders can obtain the happy, healthy lives they deserve.

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Statistics

Depression, which is a mental illness that impacts children, adults, and adolescents, is one of the most common mental health conditions. It has been deduced that 1 in 33 children, 1 in 8 adolescents, and 7% of adults meet the criteria needed in order for depression to be diagnosed. Additionally, it has been determined that 15% of adults will develop depression at some point in their lives, if they have not already experienced symptoms sooner.

Causes and Risk Factors for Depression

According to experts, depression can be brought on by environmental influences and genetics. Below are some further explanations as to how these causes can trigger the development of depression:

Genetic: Since depression can be found within families, it has been determined that depression is heritable. Especially among those who have a biological parent who struggles with depression, the risk for developing the same disorder is increased tremendously. Studies report that 40% of those who receive a diagnosis of depression have a family history of it.

Environmental: There are many environmental factors that can bring on symptoms of depression such as chronic stress, violence, trauma, abuse, or neglect. If exposure to these issues is ongoing, depression can develop with alarming speed. Sudden life changes, such as losing a job or a loved one, are also known to be a potential trigger for the development of depression. Additional factors include:

Risk Factors:

  • Experiencing abrupt or unexpected life changes
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Unstable work history
  • Exposure to chronic stress, violence, abuse, or neglect
  • Being the victim of a crime
  • Family or personal history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Lack of academic achievement
  • Being female
  • Family history of depression or other mental health conditions
  • Personal history of a preexisting mental health condition

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

The signs and symptoms linked to depression can change based on a person’s age and the severity of his or her symptoms. If you feel that you or someone you care for is battling with this mental condition, it is imperative to note the symptoms listed below and to obtain the appropriate treatment as soon as possible:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Self-harm
  • Crying spells
  • Frequent absences from school
  • Missing work
  • Decreased participation in things or activities that were once enjoyed
  • Inability to fulfill roles or adhere to responsibilities
  • Unwarranted outbursts of emotions

Physical symptoms:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Lethargy
  • Not sleeping
  • Sleeping for a majority of the day
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Aches and/or pains

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory difficulties
  • Poor concentration
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Slowed thinking

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Over criticism of self
  • Feeling guilty
  • Helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Decreased interest in pleasurable activities
  • Hopelessness
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Depression

When depression goes untreated, an individual can become susceptible to a variety of negative effects. Symptoms of this disorder can get worse over time and cause the following:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Decline in quantity and quality of interpersonal relationships
  • Academic failure
  • Obesity
  • Decline in overall physical health
  • Development of another mental health condition or substance abuse problem
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Inability to maintain employment
  • Social withdrawal or isolation

Co-Occurring Disorders

Other mental health conditions can co-occur alongside depression. Sometimes depressive symptoms can develop in response to another disorder or can cause symptoms from another mental health condition to be exacerbated. Those who are battling with eating disorders often struggle with co-occurring depressive symptoms. In addition to binge-eating, anorexia, and bulimia, other forms of disorders that can co-occur with depression can include:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
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