Depression is a potentially debilitating disorder that, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization, affects a whopping 350 million people. That means that around 5% of the world is currently experiencing a depressive episode.

It’s a startling statistic, especially when you recognize that the illness is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Luckily, there is plenty of help out there for those who may be in the throes of the painful disorder.

But, before we get too ahead of ourselves, it’s time that we learn to recognize the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of depression first. By doing so, you might just end up making a huge difference in the life of someone who is experiencing this disorder.

So, if you notice that a loved one is facing these symptoms, it’s time that you reach out to help…

  1. They have lost interest in the things that they were once passionate about

    Sure, even the best of us drop hobbies every now and then, but if you notice someone close to you has suddenly shied away from the things that were once integral parts of them, it could be a sign that they are hurting. The clinical term for this is anhedonia, and it covers everything from a person losing interest in extracurriculars or pastimes, and even goes so far as to include primal needs, like food and sex.

    One theory as to why this happens is that, when someone is experiencing a depressive episode, parts of their brain’s pleasure center, effectively, get “turned off.” Because the sufferer no longer has a way to unwind, their feelings of hopelessness can become overwhelming.

  2. It has been weeks since they have gotten a good night’s sleep

    In a post published in Psychology Today, Dr. Matthew J. Edlund describes depression and insomnia as being a sort of “chicken or the egg?” scenario, since the two are so frequently intertwined.

    That said, studies suggest that insomnia is CAUSED by depression, and, interestingly, it is usually one of the earliest detectable symptoms of the disorder. So, if you have noticed that someone close to you has been walking around with bags under their eyes, it may be time to check in with them to see how they are feeling.

  3. They have difficulty regulating their emotions

    And this goes for when they are both happy or sad. Studies show that people with depression process their emotions differently than those who do not have the disorder.

    This means that their “highs” can be extraordinarily exuberant—in fact, a hallmark of depression is that the sufferer appears obnoxious or loud to those around them—or their “lows” can feel extraordinarily devastating. What’s interesting is that they can even be triggered by second-hand scenarios, like when they are watching a movie.

Now, these symptoms may seem harmless enough, but if the person is experiencing them for weeks on end, it certainly can have a detrimental effect on their overall health.

To get even more information on these indicators and to get the scoop on the other four warning signs of depression, be sure to watch the video below. Let’s educate ourselves as best we can so that we can fight this painful disorder together!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things related to depression. Have you noticed these warning signs in a loved one? If so, what do you plan to do about it? Are you a sufferer of depression that has a story to share?