Living With

10 Signs of a Depression Relapse

Amanda Page Mar 11th, 2014 (updated Jul 21st, 2016)
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Many people with depression will experience symptoms only once in their lives, but for others, major depression can be an ongoing battle with relapses occurring throughout their lives.  Here are  warning signs that could help a person avoid a major depressive episode by seeking help early.  

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Social withdrawal
Social withdrawal

If you find yourself avoiding social situations you could be feeling down without fully realizing it.  Depression can make you feel like you lack the energy or attention to maintain a conversation or even find pleasure in social activities.  Try reaching out to a support group, as those who have battled depression will understand what you are going through better than anyone else.

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Loss of interests
Loss of interests

An early sign of depression is a loss of interest in things you once found pleasurable, such as attraction for your partner, an interest in sex or the enjoyment of hobbies.  Consult a doctor as soon as this becomes apparent, as it can negatively affect those around you and increase your risk of a major depressive episode. 

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General gloominess
General gloominess

We often feel sad as the result of a specific event such as a job loss, grief from a death or a relationship breakup – this is totally normal and usually temporary.  But if you find yourself crying, feeling empty and downright miserable every day for more than two weeks and it’s affecting your daily life, you are likely experiencing clinical depression and should seek professional assistance. 

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Sleep disruptions
Sleep disruptions

If you notice a change in your sleeping patterns such as sleeping too little, sleeping too much, or trouble falling asleep, you could be experiencing a depression relapse. Often depression can lead to ruminating over the day’s events, which in turn affects our sleep habits.  A medical professional will be able to either prescribe medication or provide talk therapies to help with sleep symptoms. 

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Irritability
Irritability

An early sign of a relapse is a low tolerance to stress and feeling like any little thing can set you off.  Maybe you are bickering with family members more often.  Depression often disguises itself in anger and frustration.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist if you start feeling more irritable than usual or want some help working through your emotional turmoil.   

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Self-loathing
Self-loathing

Feelings of guilt and worthlessness can come creeping back at the onset of depression. You may find it particularly difficult to turn off your inner self-criticism or feel preoccupied with your “lack of achievements” and spend too much time focusing on your failures and flaws.  Psychotherapy can be immensely helpful at rebuilding self-esteem and keeping depression at bay.  

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Weight changes
Weight changes

Depression may often lead people to binge eat or lose interest in food.  If you are experiencing other signs of depression accompanied by a dramatic change in eating habits – gaining or losing more than 5 percent of your body weight in under a month – consult a therapist. 

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Fatigue
Fatigue

Depression can make you feel exhausted, despite having done nothing out of the ordinary.  You may notice that you lack the energy to get out of bed in the morning or you may find simple chores like doing the laundry unbearable.  Even though they may be the last thing you feel like doing, exercise and good eating habits are the best remedy for counteracting fatigue.  

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Brain fog
Brain fog

If depression is creeping back, you may find it more difficult to concentrate or have a hard time remembering things.  You may have trouble making decisions and solving problems problem may seem particularly stressful and difficult.  Depression can slow down your thinking process, making it hard to stay on track professionally and personally. 

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Aches and pains
Aches and pains

Depression doesn’t just affect our mental health, it can also take a toll on physical health.  If you notice unexplained aches and pains, such as chronic sore muscles, headaches, stomach aches and chest pain, you could be battling the onset of depression and may want to consult your doctor about whether that could be causing your ailments.