How to Recognize Early Warning Signs of Depression
early warning signs of depression

Depression can be stealthy and difficult to spot at first. Many early signs of depression may go unnoticed because they slide into your psyche under the radar. Unless you’ve had some massive life change or trauma, clinical depression can sneak into your life gradually. And then, one day, you realize the past few months, or even years, have been riddled with warning signs of depression. 

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, so people who’ve suffered from depression without recognizing it shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. 

Understanding the early signs of depression is an excellent way to raise your awareness level. When you know what to look for in yourself or those you care about, you can get help before it gets worse. Left untreated, depression can damage relationships, work or school productivity, and can even be fatal. 

Early intervention is always the way to go when treating any mental illness.

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Early Warning Signs of Depression to Watch For

Depression affects over 17 million adults in the U.S. Yet, an estimated 35% of those individuals don’t get the treatment they need. There are many reasons why people don’t seek mental health treatment, including the negative stigma surrounding mental health, lack of availability, and just not thinking they have depression. 

While depression can be incredibly furtive in its onset, keep these early signs of depression in your mind so you can get a head start getting the treatment you or someone you love needs. 

Your Sleep Patterns Have Changed

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Your Sleep Patterns Have Changed

One of the most tell-tale early warning signs of depression is changes in your sleep patterns. Even though you may feel fatigued when you have depression, often, you have trouble falling asleep, or you may be waking up very early. Or, perhaps you fall asleep okay but never wake up feeling rested because you woke up several times during the night. 

Depression may also cause you to sleep more than usual. You may find yourself going to bed earlier than usual or sleeping through your weekends. 

You Don’t Find Joy in Things You Used to Love

Anhedonia is what clinicians refer to as a loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy. When it’s you and not someone else, this early sign of depression can be challenging to pinpoint. But when you find yourself avoiding social activities with friends you used to enjoy, setting aside hobbies, or even not being interested in sex, this is a big depression red flag. 

Even if you force yourself to do things you typically enjoy, when you’re suffering from depression, you’ll likely just feel “blah” the whole time and find no joy. 

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You’re More Negative

Everyone can feel pessimistic from time to time. But when your whole perspective about everything becomes negative, you may be dealing with an early warning sign of depression. Again, this can be challenging to spot in yourself. 

Make sure you pay attention to others when they start telling you you’re being pessimistic, negative, or a “Debbie Downer.” 

You’re Irritable and Less Patient

You’re Irritable and Less Patient

This goes hand in hand with becoming more pessimistic and negative. Because depression emotionally depletes you, you don’t have much emotional reserve to pull from when something bothers you. 

Perhaps you find yourself snapping at a co-worker when they use the last of the printer paper or yelling at your child when they accidentally spill their juice. If you feel more irritable, angrier, and less patient, this could be an early warning sign of depression.

You Spend More Time Alone Than You Used To

Alone time is healthy. But when you become reclusive, depression could be lurking. Take note of how you feel about hanging out with other people. If you feel a longing to lock yourself in your room or stay home by yourself more often than not, that’s a big red flag.

Not wanting to be with others could mean you’re trying to hide your depression, or it could just be a side effect of fatigue and exhaustion stemming from depression. Or maybe you don’t feel good enough about yourself to be with others. Whatever the reason, if you’re alone more often than with others lately, it could be depression.

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You Feel Like Everything is a Struggle

When you suffer from depression, even minor inconveniences are a big ordeal. If you’re not clinically depressed, dealing with misplacing your glasses, stubbing your toe, or traffic jams is annoying but not overly challenging. However, when you have depression, even small things like this can send you into a tailspin. 

Completing regular, everyday tasks can seem extremely difficult too. Taking a shower, packing your kids’ lunch, returning a phone call – all these things can seem overwhelmingly challenging when you’re depressed. 

Your Appetite Has Changed

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Your Appetite Has Changed

Depression can impact your appetite and your weight. You may find yourself craving certain foods, typically carbohydrates, and not wanting to cook, so you order out. Or, you might not want to eat very much at all. 

Either way, if you notice yourself skipping meals, forgetting to eat, eating more than usual, or gaining or losing weight, you could be suffering from depression.

Early Intervention Depression Treatment in San Diego at BOLD Health

You didn’t choose to have depression. It’s not a choice anyone makes. Depression is a serious mental illness that is 100% treatable. 

Not getting the mental health treatment you need for treating depression can lead to additional stress, additional symptom development, and problems in relationships and work or school. Recognizing the early signs of depression can save you from a lot of heartache and difficulty. 

If you’re looking for depression treatment in San Diego, choose a mental healthcare facility that offers proven, science-backed treatment options. Choose BOLD Health

How to Talk About Your Depression With Friends and Family

Our depression treatment options in San Diego include:

Developed by physicians, our team of highly skilled mental health professionals includes therapists, psychologists, and counselors trained and ready to help you through your mental health struggles. 

Our approach to depression treatment in San Diego is unique in that we don’t simply treat your symptoms; we treat you – your whole self. We focus on the biological and psychological underpinnings that have led to your depression. Together, we’ll work to discover exactly what’s driving your struggles and give you the tools and strategies to combat depression now and in the future. 

BOLD Health

Your journey to feeling more like yourself begins here. We’re ready to chat with you about your concerns and get you out of your rut before it gets deeper. Don’t wait to get the mental health support you need. Get help today. 

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  1. […] Of course, several factors play into your level of risk for developing depression. […]