According to a recent study, the number of students at some of the nationâ€™s top universities suffering from depression has increased by an astonishing 107% with universities spending an additional Â£290,000 on support services to help student sufferers in one year alone. But as a parent, family member or friend, how can you spot whether someone you know is affected by this growing epidemic?
Depression is often difficult for many people to fathom and tends not to grab the headlines or be promoted on our televisions, making society none the wiser about the damaging and in some cases fatal side effects that come with this mental illness. Depression can affect people of all ages and from all backgrounds and involves chronic sadness and downswings often as a response to struggles or disappointments faced in oneâ€™s life.
Depression can result in people being unable to face work or study and their feelings of hopelessness can have a detrimental effect of their eating and sleeping patterns. Many sufferers choose to deal with depression alone, hiding their illness from the people around them, and prefer to isolate themselves from the health care professionals that can help.
Spotting the Signs
Being aware of the tell-tale signs of depression is the first step of helping sufferers and understanding the illness as a non-sufferer, but where do you start when diagnosing the symptoms for yourself?
Depression can show itself in many forms, which vary from person-to-person, but whilst many try to keep their symptoms under wraps their family and friends should be on high alert to spot the common signs that come with the mental illness. The general emotional state of a person is one of the most common sign but this can be extremely hard to spot. People with depression have feelings of helplessness and worthlessness, which may resonate in their daily lives. Irritability is also a tell-tale sign due to depression induced changes in sleeping and eating habits.
Make Sense of Lifestyle Changes
Depression will interfere with the sleeping pattern of a person, this may show itself as insomnia, where sufferers struggle to get to sleep or simply donâ€™t sleep at all for a number of days, or as hypersomnia.Â Hypersomnia is when a person oversleeps and this can be induced for the emotional state of a depressed person.
People with depression may suffer extreme weight loss or gain due to changes in eating habits. Through these sleeping and eating difficulties, people with depression may also experience a loss in energy so look out for signs that tell you that your friend or family member is feeling the effects of fatigue such as sluggish behaviour, restlessness and a physically drained appearance. Concentration problems can also be a side effect of depression and its subsequent changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Difficulties focusing can create a never ending cycle for students suffering from depression, as feelings of worthlessness are only back up by their inability to concentrate and complete studies.
As well as noting a loss of interest in life and daily activities, you should also look out for signs of reckless behaviour. Many people with depression try to induce this feeling of escapism to get away from the troubles they face each day. A heightened and sudden interest in drug taking, gambling and dangerous sports may just be the tell-tale sign you are looking for. Depression can also show itself in health complaints too and many sufferers see an increase in headaches, as well as back, muscle and stomach problems.
Depression and Suicide
Suicide is the stark reality of what depression can mean for many individuals, and a number of people see death as the only way out of their feelings of low self-worth. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from depression, then sadly you must also be on your guard to spot the signs of suicide and know how to react to prevent a fatal outcome.
Talk revolving around suicide is the most obvious warning sign, whilst acting recklessly, calling people to say farewell and hurrying to get affairs in order can also provide less obvious tell-tale signs. If you notice troubling behaviour like this, contact your local health care professional for further advice and action, you may just save a life.
What Happens Next?
Once youâ€™ve recognised that your loved one has depression then the road to recovery is just a short ride away. Recovery from mental illness does take time, and in many cases individuals will be taught to manage their illness rather than look for a cure. You should contact your GP as soon as possible to discuss your concerns and a course of action to manage stress, build supportive relationships, challenge negative trains of thought and generally start afresh will begin.
This article was written by Personal Statement Help, as well as assisting students with personal statement advice and personal statement writing, their experts provide guidance of all things student related including health and lifestyle progress.