Depression in women can be a debilitating condition that can wreak havoc in the life of the sufferer and those around her. Even in the best case scenario, she may be likely to withdraw from friends and family, and neglect those who rely on her. In the worst case scenario, she could injure herself or others. Learning to recognize the early signs of depression in women can increase the chance of getting her help and prevent tragic events from unfolding.
Early Warning Signs of Depression In Women
- Mental changes, such as difficulty recalling basic details, an inability to focus on tasks, or problems making decisions. While everyone is prone to forgetting the name of that rarely seen neighbor or misplacing the car keys from time to time, and most people have days where they can’t decide between pizza or Chinese for takeout, if these issues become severe, they may be signs of depression.
- Loss of energy or frequent fatigue. Again, every woman, especially busy moms, are going to have days where they just have no energy and don’t feel like doing anything. If a woman in your life is constantly exhausted, even after a good night’s sleep, however, then it may be cause for concern.
- Feeling guilty. Mommy guilt is one thing, we all deal with it from time to time. Constantly feeling guilty over things that cannot be changed, however, is one of the early signs of depression in women. Expressing feelings of worthlessness or helplessness are also red flags.
- Changes in sleep habits. Difficulty falling asleep, problems staying asleep, waking up significantly earlier than usual, or sleeping excessively are all signs that there could be a deeper problem. Like with previous signs, all women will go through periods in their lives where sleep habits get a little out of whack. Look for extreme pattern changes that seem to last a long time.
- Mood Changes- Swinging from one mood to the next without obvious reason (menopause, menstruation, pregnancy, or life changes), is often a sign of depression. Typically, one of the early signs of depression in women includes irritability or crankiness.
- Unexplained aches and pains. Depression can cause unexplained aches and pains that won’t go away, even after treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. Stomach issues such as nausea, vomiting, and indigestion can also be early signs of depression.
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities. If a woman in your life suddenly starts canceling on all your lunch dates, drops her yoga class, or bails on every party she’s invited to, she may be depressed. Dropping out of one activity is rarely cause for concern, but when she’s giving up everything she once loved, it’s time to investigate further.
- Changes in eating habits. One of the most common early signs of depression in women is changes in eating habits. Women who are depressed tend to either stop eating almost completely or start binging.
If you recognize any of these early signs of depression in women in one of your friends or family members, try talking to them about it first. If that doesn’t work, call in reinforcements and do everything possible to convince her to seek help. You could save her life in the long run.