How to Know When Depression Is Serious

It’s very possible to get used to living with depression—yours or someone else’s—and neglect to recognize that something is very wrong. Get to know the signs of serious depression and a subpar quality of life. And recognize when it’s time to get treatment and to renew your life.

Depression is a condition that can sneak up in your life. Negative changes in your mood, your energy, your outlook, your ability to cope may all happen gradually. But the risks of obscured depression are just as serious as when the symptoms present clearly. So, don’t doubt that yours or a loved one’s depression is not serious because it doesn’t appear as you might expect.

While treatment mitigates the critical risks and the inflation of depression, it’s also important to look at treatment as a bridge to a better life. Serious depression manifests on a spectrum of experiences that are unique to each individual. In other words, it is unhelpful to simply compare one person’s depressive experiences to another’s.

If you are even curious about the possibility that someone is suffering from depression or another distressing mental health disorder, it is likely time to visit a compassionate clinician for help and advice. You’re loved one will not get stuck with any treatment they don’t need. But access to the treatment they do need could absolutely change their life for the better.

Recognize the Signs That Someone’s Depression Is Serious


Significant changes in a person’s mood or behaviors typically indicate that something more serious is going on under the surface. When you can notice these changes, you can also open up pathways for necessary care and healing.

Not every instance of depression will come with the same set of symptoms. Here is a range of common signs that someone is suffering from a depressive disorder:


Lack of motivation

  • To get out of bed
  • To start tasks, however small
Loss of interest

  • In socializing
  • In activities one used to enjoy
  • In life itself—in living
Negative thoughts and feelings

  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Irritability

  • Impatience
  • Easily frustrated or upset
Emotional or physical disconnect

  • Feeling numb or empty
  • Lack of emotional response to major situations or events
  • Feeling disconnected from one’s body or physical experiences
Increase or decrease in appetite

  • May include significant weight loss or gain without conscious intent
Neglect of personal care and appearance

  • Failing to maintain basic personal hygiene practices, such as showering or brushing one’s teeth or hair
  • Wearing old clothes or not washing clothes, even when they may be unclean
Changes in energy

  • Less active
  • Fatigued
Sleep disturbances

  • More sleep than usual
  • Sleeping without feeling rested
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty with memory
  • Difficulty with making decisions
Pain and discomfort

  • Headaches
  • Other chronic physical aches and pains
  • Digestive and other gastrointestinal issues

Signs of serious depression can be subtle, or they can be more obvious. However it manifests, it can severely disrupt one’s ability to function on a daily basis, to achieve their goals, and to succeed in relationships and other enriching opportunities. Depression treatment can catch these downward trends and completely revive a person’s relationship to life.

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How Can Treatment Change Someone’s Life with Serious Depression?


If left untreated, depression can worsen. And it can devastate lives and relationships without anyone intending for these negative consequences. If the person you care about has experienced a depressive episode for at least two weeks, it’s possible that a clinician might diagnose either depressive disorder or major depressive disorder. These diagnoses do not change who the person is; rather, they open the door to renewal and a better life. With a mental health disorder such as depression, compassionate professional treatment is necessary to improve symptoms and mitigate the risks and side effects of the illness.

When a depressive disorder has taken hold, a person cannot necessarily will themselves better. They need help to redirect negative patterns and perhaps to support the neurochemicals that govern their moods. Often, treatment is necessary to help a person get past a challenging mood threshold. This objective is most effective in a residential treatment center that integrates knowledgeable professionals, diverse treatment options, and well-rounded support. But, just as importantly, an immersive treatment program also helps to prepare clients to manage their stress and their mood balance into the future. So, in the right setting, treatment for serious depression is as much about empowering an individual to actualize their best life in the long term as it is about mitigating symptoms in the present.

Regardless of the cause of your loved one’s depression, treatment serves as a positive intervention—in the form of medications, psychotherapy, and holistic approaches to overall well-being. So, whether they are struggling with trauma, major life transitions, a genetic predisposition, an aggravating medical condition, or other co-occurring disorder under the surface, there is hope for healing progress. Depression is not a wait-and-see kind of problem. Delaying treatment and recovery could mean serious consequences at work or in relationships, or it could mean suicide or other self-harm that is not reversible. However, this moment is ripe with possibilities for your loved one’s recovery because treatment options are accessible and very worth your efforts to connect.

BrightQuest Treatment Center is a long-term residential treatment program for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned San Diego-area program and how we can help you or your loved one begin the journey toward recovery.