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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

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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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