Depression: 21 Must Know Signs and Symptoms

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Some of the prominent symptoms of depression include lack of sleep, anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleeping disorders, sadness, mood swings, lack of interest in things, weight fluctuations, to name a few.

Depression is a severe mental disorder that can affect your personal life.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in a study that almost 10 percent adults suffer from depression. It is a common mental illness in modern times. Clinical depression is an even more serious form that affects a person’s health as well. Depression over a long time can leave you feeling sad, isolated and hopeless.

Despite being a common mental disease, depression cannot be easily diagnosed. Most people confuse depression with sadness. There are a few major signs that indicate clinical depression. Depression can affect mind, health and behavior as well. Lack of interest in activities and feeling of hopelessness are signs. Similarly, changes in appetite, sudden weight loss are also indications that you may have severe depression. Keep reading to find all about depression.

depression signs

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

  • The first sign of depression can be a constant low feeling for weeks. If you feel sad and down for longer than 2 weeks, it can be depression. Doctors consider sadness for over two weeks as a sign of depression.
  • This mental illness reduces a person’s ability to function in day to day life. He is always consumed with a sense of hopelessness. He can feel gloomy all day for months at a stretch. For a patient of clinical depression there is nothing good in life. This is definitely a sign of clinical depression.
  • There is a complete lack of interest in life. Activities which used to be pleasurable in the past can no longer attract that person. A person suffering from depression will get no enjoyment from doing anything in life. For such a person being happy is very difficult.
  • Another sign of clinical depression is poor concentration. A person affected with clinical depression will start losing his focus. Focusing for a longer span of time might seem impossible for him. This is an evident symptom of clinical depression. Lack of concentration can affect daily life in a major way. It can have several fatal consequences. A person with depression may not be able to focus on the streets while driving or walking. This can lead to fatal accidents.
  • Lack of self esteem is a sign of clinical depression. People suffering from depression feel they are worthless and undeserving. This affects their confidence also to a great extent. These people tend to constantly dwell on negative thoughts. They cannot see any good quality in themselves.
  • Feeling exhausted all day is a common sign of depression. The energy level is very low in people suffering from depression. These people feel unenthusiastic about everything. They get mentally and physically tired very easily. A person may feel like staying in bed all day because of lack of energy. Doing a small activity can tire him out to a great extent. Simple tasks may seem impossible for such people. These are all signs of major depression.
  • According to research, almost 75 percent of people suffering from depression feel chronic pain all over. Having constant body ache is a sign of clinical depression. Mental illness can also affect you physically. Many people are unaware of this connection. That is why they tend to ignore body aches as a possible symptom of mental illness. Patients of depression are more likely to develop intense lower back pain and also neck pain. Headache and stomach aches are also likely to occur frequently in this condition. Also these people are unable to cope with pain compared to others.
  • Sudden weight loss is a significant indication of depression. In this mental condition people tend to lose their appetite. There is usually very little interest in food. Many people even stop eating. They feel unable to muster that energy to eat also. They have to forcefully eat. All this results in significant weight loss. It can severely affect the health also. Constant weight loss and lack of nutrition can cause other health complications.
  • Often people tend to cope with depression by binging on food. This is also commonly seen. Many people overeat when they feel sad and low. They have a craving for junk food all the time. This is called emotional eating. People crave comfort food during times of depression to satisfy themselves. But constant overeating leads to weight gain in most cases. It also causes feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Weight gain itself can affect a person’s mental state. It can cause feelings of shame in that person. This complicates the mental illness even more. Depression also makes it difficult to lose weight.
  • JAMA Psychiatry published a study that says 54 percent of people suffering from depression show aggression at the slightest issue. Many people reported feeling angry and violent in clinical depression. Feeling irritated, grumpy and hostile are related to depression. One accompanies the other. It is a behavioral symptom that is caused by mental disorder. It is most commonly seen in men suffering from clinical depression.
  • Lack of sleep or more sleepiness is a sign of depression. Changes in sleeping pattern indicate a mental disorder usually.
  • Women tend to show panic and stress as symptoms of depressive disorder. They go into panic attacks while going through depression. Too much of anxiety over a simple thing is a serious indication of clinical depression.
  • Women may also experience changes in their menstrual cycle. Depression directly affects the hormonal balance of the body in women.
  • Sometimes constipation can also be a symptom of depression.
  • Feeling numb can also be a sign of clinical depression. It is possible for a person suffering from depression to not feel happiness or sadness anymore. Depression can make a person detached and aloof. These behavior changes are symptoms.
  • Excessive time spent on virtual world can be a sign of clinical depression. People who are glued to social sites all the time rather than spending time with friends and families are mostly clinically depressed. Internet addiction may be their escape route from the real world.
  • Sometimes daydreaming is also considered as a sign of depression. Mostly too much of daydreaming can mean that a person is feeling depressed.
  • Inability to take a decision is another symptom of depression. People with depression tend to become confused a lot. They cannot seem to decide even simple things.
  • Feeling suicidal is a symptom as well as consequence of depression. People suffering from major depressive disorder often express wishes to end their life or harm themselves. This is a serious issue that should never be ignored.

What causes depression in women?

  • Marital problems are a common cause of depression in women according to research. Trouble with spouse affects the mental state of a woman severely. This often results in clinical depression.
  • Problem with parents is another common cause of clinical depression in women. The lack of family support tends to push a woman towards depression. It has been seen in many studies that women are more sensitive to family problems than men.
  • Constant dwelling on negative thoughts is another likely cause of major depressive disorder in women. This mental state is called neuroticism. It is more commonly seen in women.
  • Depression affects women mostly after giving birth. It is commonly known as post partum depression. This is a severe case of mental disorder. It affects almost 1 in 7. Hormones play a huge role in causing post partum depression in women.
  • Hormones also cause depression in women during menopause. It is quite common in middle aged women. There is a greater risk of clinical depression during menopause than any other time. Hormonal changes play a massive role in inducing depression in women.

What causes depression in men?

  • Substance abuse is the major cause of clinical depression in men. They are more likely to be affected with depression because of drugs. Also depression leads several men to take up drugs. It is a vicious cycle which is more common in men than women.
  • Sexual abuse in childhood can also be a reason of depression in men. Any kind of sexual trauma in the past can affect men in a severe way. It can be the root cause of mental disorders later in life.
  • A history of temporary phases of depression can often result in severe disorder in men. Men are conditioned by society in a way that they cannot express their sadness. Storing up of feelings for a long time can finally cause clinical depression.
  • Failure in career is a major cause of depression in men. The inability to achieve success pushes many men towards mental illness. Career achievement is everything for a man. Failure to achieve success in career can lower a man’s self esteem. This can induce severe depression in men.
  • Legal and financial problem in life often causes major depression.
  • Men often feel worthless for not being able to financially provide for his family. This is a serious issue for them. It can lead to clinical depression in most cases.
  • Losing a job can affect a man’s mental state in a severe way. Study says that unemployment hits men more severely than women. Loss of a job can turn into clinical depression for men.

Who are at risk of having depression?

Depression does not have any particular cause. It can affect anyone at anytime. But there are also several risk factors that can induce depression. Let us take a look at those risk factors.

  • People with low self esteem are at risk of developing clinical depression sooner or later. They are more likely to be affected by failures and loss and go into depression.
  • Anyone who has a childhood trauma can also be affected by depressive disorder. A traumatic event in the past can come to the surface as clinical depression later in life.
  • People with a family history of mental illness can have clinical depression. It is a possibility that should be taken seriously. However family history alone is not responsible for depression.
  • A long time of substance and alcohol abuse can also result in major depressive disorder.
  • A person who has a history of other mental illness is likely to develop clinical depression as well. Someone having bipolar disorder can also develop clinical depression.
  • Anyone suffering from terminal illness can also feel severely depressed about his condition. Diseases like cancer, brain injury can affect a person’s mental state. Suffering from any long term pain or major surgery can also result in depression.
  • Sometimes certain medications can also induce depressive disorder. Medicines of cancer, steroids or high blood pressure can cause depression. It is important to check with the doctor about the possible side effects of medications before taking.
  • Constant isolation from everyone can eventually lead to severe case of depression.
  • Any major event in life like the death of a loved one can also trigger depression.

According to studies, men and women may suffer depression for different causes.  The American Journal of Psychiatry states that personal relationships are more likely to cause depression in women than men. For men, financial and legal troubles are the common reasons of clinical depression. It is actually a myth that women suffer from depression more than men. It has been seen in various case studies that both men and women suffer equally from clinical depression.

How to treat depression?

Clinical depression requires medical attention and therapy. Unlike sadness, depression is a disease. It cannot fade normally as time passes. Rather, situation may worsen if not treated in time. Depression can be cured with proper therapy and counseling. Often patients feel better after sharing their feelings with an experienced therapist. A lot of times, medications are also required. Antidepressants are commonly used in such cases.

Conclusion

Depression is a severe mental disorder. Often people tend to ignore their depression in fear of being stigmatized. According to WHO, depression is the most common disease in the whole world. Many people do not give enough importance to this illness. Clinical depression is actually a disease like any other disease. It cannot be overcome just like that. It requires professional treatment. If you experience any symptom that might indicate depression, immediately consult a doctor. Depression can be cured if help is sought in time.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2395346/

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/1733742

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