Table of Contents
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
A patient must have at least five of the above mentioned symptoms in order to be diagnosed with major depression. Depression symptoms can last for a very long period of time, sometimes even years. They affect lives and interfere with the social relationship, making it difficult for the people around the patient to have empathy for them. Some symptoms can even be highly disabling that they sometimes interfere with the functioning ability. In such severe cases, people may find it difficult to ear, get out of bed and maintain hygiene.
When depressed, episodes may occur. These episodes can be recurrent, longstanding or chronic. Sometimes, patients feel as they last forever. They can be precipitated by some life crises or simply occur randomly.
Clinical depression in most cases occurs along with various other medical illnesses. This condition can often worsen the prognosis of these illnesses.
Psychological Signs and Symptoms of Depression
When it comes to symptoms of depression, they can be split in two categories: feelings and behavior.
A person suffering from depression often feels:
- Agitated and irritable
- Upset and tearful
- Guilty or worthless
- Numb and empty
- Cannot find pleasure in things they usually enjoy
- Isolated from other people
- Unable to relate to other people
- Unreality sense
- No self-confidence
Behavioral Signs of Depression
People who suffer from this condition have the tendency of behaving differently than those who don’t. Depressive behavioral symptoms may include:
- Self-harming or suicidal actions and behaviors
- Avoiding previously enjoyed social activities and events
- Finding it difficult to speak to others
- Finding it difficult to think clearly
- Unable to remember and concentrate on something
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
- Losing interest in sexual activities
- Feeling constantly tired
- No appetite and too much eating
- Unexpected weight gain or loss
- Physical pains with no physical cause
- Being restless or agitated
- Lack of eye contact
- Appearance of preoccupation
- Hand wringing
- Pulling hair
- Psychomotor agitation (slowed speech, long pauses, sighs)
- Defiance and belligerence
- Slowed body movements
After reviewing the signs symptoms, patient history and family history, the doctor may continue with lab tests, used to rule out another physical condition that may cause the depression signs. Additionally, every patient must fully inform the doctor of any other medications they are consuming.
Psychotic Symptoms of Depression
Aside from behavioral and psychological symptoms, another subgroup co-exists. Another type of symptoms related to depression is the psychotic symptoms. If a person is experiencing an episode of severe depression, there is a big chance that it will include some psychotic symptoms too.
The most common psychotic depression symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. If one is experiencing these as a part of depression, they are most likely somehow linked to the thoughts and feelings of the person. For example, paranoia and hearing voices are both likely to occur when one has committed an unspeakable crime.
Experiences and happenings of this type can feel too real when the episodes happen, even to the extent that people cannot realize that those things are only depression symptoms. This can both frighten and upset the depressed person. Therefore, it is highly important to seek some professional help and support if you experience anything like this.
Psychotic symptoms often lead to new diagnosis, but this is not always the case. Psychosis is often just a symptom of depression. This is why it is important to consult your doctor about such events. They will help you determine the right treatment and give you the support you need.
Can the Signs of Depression Vary?
Depression is a condition that often varies based on various factors, such as age and gender. Truth is, old and young people can experience depression quite differently. This is also the case with women and men.
- Depression in men.
Men diagnosed with depression are less likely to acknowledge the feelings of hopelessness and self loathing than women. They usually base their complaints on irritability, fatigue, sleep problems and loss of interest in both hobbies and work. Additionally, they are more likely to experience aggression, reckless behavior, anger and substance abuse.
- Depression in women
Depressed women are more likely to experience feelings of guilt, overeating, excessive sleeping and weight gain then men. This condition in women can be worsening as a result of the hormonal factors that happen during menstruation, menopause and pregnancy. Up to 1 in 7 women are bound to experience depression symptoms right after childbirth. This is also referred to as postpartum depression.
- Depression in older adults
When suffering from depression, older adults complain more about the physical symptoms of it rather than the emotional ones. The most usual complaints relate to things like unexplained pains and aches, fatigue and problems with memory.
Older adults are likely to neglect their appearance and stop taking the recommended medications for their health as a result of depression.
- Depression in teens
Irritability, agitation and anger are most noticeable when it comes to teens suffering from depression. Teens often complain of stomachaches, headaches or similar physical pains when depressed.
Signs of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is not a very common depression type, but can be extremely serious. This disorder develops after the birth of the child and is mostly characterized by loss of contact with reality.
Women who suffer from this disorder are at high risk of suicide and infanticide. Therefore, in most cases these women are hospitalized until the condition is treated.
Postpartum psychosis is a disorder that develops suddenly. It usually develops within the first two weeks after the baby is born. The most common signs of postpartum depression include:
- Delusions (paranoia)
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are unreal)
- Suicidal actions or thoughts
- Extreme anxiety and agitation
- Mood swings
- Inability to sleep
- Inability or refusal to eat
- Bizarre behavior
- Thoughts of harming the baby
- Thoughts of killing the baby
Suicide Risk and Depression
When it comes to suicide, depression is one of the most common causes. This is sometimes considered to be the only way to escape the pain that is caused by deep despair and long-lasting feeling of hopelessness (both symptoms of depression).
If you are suffering of depression or know someone who does, make sure to take suicide talk or behavior very seriously. In order to do this, you should watch for the most common depression signs:
- Talking about harming or killing one’s self
- Unusual preoccupation with dying or death
- Strong feelings of being trapped
- Strong feelings of being hopeless
- Acting recklessly
- Calling people to say goodbye
- Sudden switch from depression to acting calm and happy
- Getting affairs in order and tying up some loose ends
If this is the case with someone you know, you should seek help immediately. The most common way to solve this is by talking about it.
When people feel low and depressed, they often use self-harming behaviors to cope with these feelings. They do this because they feel like they will improve something in the short term, but self-harm can never be a good thing. On the opposite, hurting yourself or others can be very dangerous and even make a patient feel much worse in the long term.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are often experienced together. Some of the depression symptoms can often be sings of anxiety too; and vice versa. The common symptoms of depression and anxiety include:
- Being agitated
- Feeling restless
- Difficulties in falling asleep
- Struggling to eat
Sometimes treating one of the two conditions can improve the other one too, but in most cases two treatments are recommended – one for anxiety and one for depression.
Depression and Other Mental Health Problems
There are several mental health problems that can be linked to depression, such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder
Feeling of low mood or bad thoughts should not be the first reason to speak with a doctor. If you are experiencing any of the common depression symptoms, you should most definitely discuss this with your doctor. The doctor might offer you depression treatment based on what you tell them, so make sure you are as thorough about your symptoms as you can.