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Lesser-Known Symptoms of Depression Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Lesser-Known Symptoms of Depression Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Did you know that about 66% of the 350 million people suffering from depression do not get treatment? Some experts put the figure at 80%. About 17 million Americans are suffering from this mental illness, and nine million may have clinical depression. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. However, men are at increased risk when their levels of testosterone are reduced in middle age.

People suffer from depression when certain emotional and physical needs are missing. It is fascinating to look at the Kaluli tribe in New Guinea, where depression simply does not exist. Their society is built on mutual help and support. This is what is missing in our modern society, and the effects have been devastating and costly. It is the price we pay for a highly individualistic mentality.

“Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful.” – Giles Andreae

If you or a loved one suspect that you might be suffering from some form of depression, it is important to know what the symptoms are so that you can then get the necessary help and treatment.

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Symptoms of depression can be physical

People associate depression with a low mood and other classic mental issues. But with depression, the body suffers, and many physical symptoms start to appear. Depressed people are less liable to follow a diet, take medicine or participate in exercise, which exacerbates the situation.

Inexplicable headaches and pain

One of the pointers indicating depression may be aches and pains which cannot be explained by any other physical condition. There may be headaches, lower back pain, abdominal pain, joint and neck problems. It is as if depression leaves large footprints all over your body. Many patients report that physical pain is the main symptom, or at least the first sign that they are suffering from depression.

The explanation may be that the nerve pathways governed by the neurotransmitters such as serotonin are also involved in our physical sensations. This would explain why sleeping and eating habits are affected by depression.

One psychiatrist has remarked that as many as 50% of undiagnosed cases of depression may be those who are not reporting a depressed mood at all.

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Sleep patterns are disturbed

Up to 75% of depressed patients suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems. Experts have noted that sleep patterns or sleep architecture are manifestly altered in depression. Quality of life is affected and may lead to more depression symptoms. It is a sort of vicious circle.

Fatigue and loss of energy

These symptoms could be at the root of many chronic illnesses and diseases. Loss of energy and feelings of apathy may just be the tip of the iceberg. Early morning waking and feeling exhausted plus difficulty getting back to sleep are also related to depression.

Many elderly patients suffer from loss of control over their lives because of failing physical health. This starts a negative emotional spiral which can lead to isolation and apathy.

Weight issues

Weight issues as a symptom of depression can range from binge eating to starvation diets. Those who are obese are at greater risk for depression, and depressed patients are also more likely to becoming overweight. This was the conclusion after 15 studies reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Loss of energy, poor sleep and apathy add to the risk.

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To read more about weight issues and emotional issue, you can check out Emotional Eating: What You Need To Know Before Starting Another Diet by Edward Abramson.

Apathy and hopelessness

Many patients feel that they have no interest in any of the activities they used to enjoy. This is coupled with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There is also a feeling that life is simply not worth living.

“Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem.” – David D.Burns

Doom and gloom

Depressed patients are miserable and down most of the time. Sometimes there is also anxiety and negative thoughts. These are the result of the patient’s beliefs, ethics and behavior. They buzz around in the head like irritating insects. When depression is the cause, these thoughts take over and can paralyze the one suffering. Part of any depression treatment will be learning to let go of these thoughts.

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“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius

And many more symptoms…

Depression covers a multitude of symptoms, and everybody seems to have a different set. It is perfectly normal to feel sad or dejected after a disappointment. Bereavement and illness may also pull you down. Loneliness and financial worries can all play a part. It is however when these symptoms I have listed above start taking over your whole existence that it may be time to ask for help.

Featured photo credit: Saint Anna Lake VII/Janos Csonger Kerekes via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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