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How your body signals depression

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There are different levels of depression, and a lot of people aren't even aware they have it, says Hurley counselor Dr. Recco Richardson, "The majority of people who suffer from, sort of, entry level depressions, they're not aware. They just think they're hungry, or need rest, or need to eat better or need to exercise, when really there are some levels of depression there that may need attention."

Insomnia, sleeping too much, changes in weight and appetite, fatigue- are all physical signs of depression.

"Alot of times, we're not aware," Richardson says, "We're so busy still being effective, still being productive until we don't notice that we are being short with people. We don't notice that we're more irritable."

So, sadness- the emotion we expect with depression- can easily come out as irritability or anger instead.

"Because stress and anger are more socially acceptable terms for how we are feeling about things," Richardson says.

These emotions however, says Richardson, can lead us even further down that dark path, "Not wanting to be bothered. Isolation. Not wanting to be around people, for whatever reason, and some of those things. The concentration goes, too. Lack of concentration, lack of focus, at critical times, those would be some of the signs of depression in children and adults."

And, he says, men and women often handle depression differently, "Women, they tend to internalize the depression and isolate. And, for men, they tend to explode and show more anger."

Dr. Richardson calls it "under the radar" depression'. People can live in this state for a long time, but that mild depression can deepen easily.

"If someone passes away, if the dog dies, and if your job changes and your best friend moves, and the kids come home with a bad report card, now we're moving towards a more aggressive or more severe depression that is hard to reverse," Richardson says.

If you recognize the warning signs in yourself, or someone you love, communicate. Start the conversation, and get help. You can get counseling. Also, make sure you bring up your concerns with your family doctor.

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