Depression is more than just sadness.
Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises their potential,
manages to cope with life stress, works productively and contributes to their community.
But not all of us are well equipped to deal well with issues that can come up in everyday life. These problems include:
- Bereavement for the loss of a loved one.
- Relationship and work problems.
- Having just had a baby (postnatal depression).
- Unemployment and financial woes.
- Accepting your own or a loved one’s sexuality.
Anxiety and depression have become the most common mental health problems, both globally and in South Africa. More than half
of people diagnosed with depression also have anxiety.
But are you able to spot the signs when depression and anxiety take hold?
Depression is typically characterised by low self-esteem, low mood and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.
When someone is depressed they will display one or more of the following symptoms:
- Irritability or anxiety.
- Shifts in appetite and weight (too much or too little).
- Sleep disorders, whether too much or too little sleep.
- Constant fatigue and loss of energy.
- Physical symptoms that may include gastrointestinal problems, chronic pain, headaches etc.
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, sadness or low self-worth.
- Difficulty thinking, memory loss, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Anxiety is considered a normal reaction to stress, and it can prompt you to deal with difficult situations. But when it becomes excessive,
it may become an anxiety disorder.
When someone is anxious they will display one or more of the following symptoms:
- Fatigue and headaches.
- Muscle tension and muscle aches.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Trembling and twitching.
- Sweating and hot flushes.