Sep 22, 2023
Early Warning Signs of Depression

Trigger Warning: Depression, Suicide

Human beings are described to be complex most significantly because of the different emotions we deal with every waking moment—joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust to name a few. As mental health awareness gradually spreads, society is now more sentient to opening these discussions. It is a normal part of life to feel down from time to time. Nonetheless when emotions of hopelessness and despair take hold for quite some time, it may be an early sign of depression.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression or depressive disorder is a common mental disorder which involves a depressed mood or loss of pleasure or interest in activities for long periods of time. An estimate of 5% of adults suffers from depression to which more women are affected than men. This is approximately 280 million people in the world. Though it is different from regular mood changes and feelings, it can affect all aspects of life. Thus, it may result in an upset of our relationships with family, friends, and community.


Seryosong usapin ba ang depression?

Hindi po biro ang depression! Definitely, it should not be taken lightly as depression can happen to anyone. Yes, you read that right. Depression can even lead to self-harm and sadly, to some extent, suicide.  Statistics show that more than 700,000 people globally die due to suicide every year. It is important to keep in mind that communicating desperation or a sign of depression is a cry for help. In a survey conducted by Rakuten Insight in May 2022, 63% of respondents in the Philippines stated that they felt more stressed or anxious during the previous year.  

According to Statistica, deaths caused by self-harm in the Philippines rose by 57.3% – this was conducted in 2020. There is an increase in suicide cases which has been attributed to the global pandemic. The sad truth about this however, is that depression is taken to be a sign of weakness. Those who lived through abuse, severe losses (maybe of loved ones or grief), and other stressful events are more inclined to develop depression.

Anxiety on the other hand is a physiological and psychological response which occurs when the mind and the body of a person encounters stressful or unfamiliar situations. National Alliance on Mental Illness points to a common ground on anxiety—persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations which are not threatening. Several theories explain that depression and anxiety go together or what is also called comorbidity. One is that these two have similar biological mechanisms in the brain. Another is that they have overlapping symptoms which is why people often meet the criteria for both diagnoses. In addition, these conditions usually show simultaneously when a person has an external stressor(s) or commonly known as triggers. 

What are the early signs of depression?

A depressive episode varies from an individual to another. But there are common signs and symptoms we can look out for. Keep in mind that the more symptoms one may have, the stronger these symptoms are, and the longer the duration—the probabilities are high that depression is at bay. A person experiences feelings of sadness, irritability, and emptiness during a depressive episode. This is alongside loss of pleasure or interest in activities once indulged by the person. Note that a depressive episode lasts most of the day, practically every day, for at least two weeks.  

Symptoms may include: 

(1) poor concentration

(2) feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth

(3) hopelessness about the future

(4) thoughts about dying or suicide

(5) disrupted sleep

(6) changes in appetite or weight; and 

(7) feelings of exhaustion or low energy. 

Also, a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the number and the intensity of symptoms. All these may impact an individual’s function in daily life. Different patterns of depressive episode includes: single episode disorder which means the person’s first and only episode; recurrent depressive episode which refers to repeated episodes; and bipolar disorder which means the episodes alternate with periods of manic symptoms (may include euphoria or irritability, increased activity or energy, increased chattiness, racing thoughts, increased self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, easily distracted, and impulsive reckless behavior).


Nagagamot ba ang depression?  

Nagagamot po! Depression can be treated. Help may be in the form of therapies, medications, or both. Although effective treatments for mental disorders are present, 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries receive no treatment. There are many reasons why some people feel the urge to hide their feelings of depression. One of the common reasons is the difficulty for a depressed person to talk about the condition he or she is in. This makes all the necessary steps harder to approach. Remember that there is no shame in asking for help! Prescriptions for depression and anxiety are there to help alleviate these conditions. 

Para sa Kalinga at Galing sa Kalusugang Pangkaisipan–MedChoice is here for you!

MedChoice has antidepressants belonging to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor pharmacologic class. Like escitalopram Film-Coated Tablet (Lexdin) 10 mg for treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), or panic disorders.

Another MedChoice SSRI is fluoxetine 20 mg (Prodin),a prescription medicine used to treat MDD, bulimia (eating disorder), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). 

A third of MedChoice SSRI is sertraline 50 mg (Zolodin), is another antidepressant (SSRI) used for treatment of MDD, OCD, SAD, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This prescription is also used to treat PMDD. 

If you or someone you know may be showing any signs of depression, the Department of Health (DOH) together with WHO Philippines, encourages you to take the first step to healing. Contact 24/7 NCHMH Hotline 1553, 0917-899-8727 (USAP), and/or 7-989-8727 (USAP)



Statista. (2023, September 7). Views on feeling stressed or anxious in the past 12 months Philippines 2022. 

Statista. (2022, April 11). Number of suicide cases Philippines 2019-2020. 

World Health Organization: WHO & Department of Health Philippines. (2020, September 10). DOH and WHO promote holistic mental health wellness in light of World Suicide Prevention Day. World Health Organization.