Symptoms of Depression
Not everyone who is depressed, experiences every symptom. Although it is often termed as ‘MENTAL ILLNESS’, clinical depression often has as many physical symptoms as mental. If these have been experienced for more than two weeks it is essential to seek help.
Some common symptom and sign of depression include:
The severity of Depression symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time. Some of them may be as follows:
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism.
You feel that life has/is ‘passing you by’.
You don’t want to see people or are scared to be left alone. Social activity may feel hard or impossible.
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness.
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
You feel exhausted a lot of the time with no energy.
You feel as if even the smallest tasks are sometimes impossible.
You spend a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong, what will go wrong, or what is wrong about yourself as a person. You may also feel guilty sometimes about being critical of others (or even thinking critically about them).
Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities.
You feel a burden to others.
You sometimes feel that life isn’t worth living.
You feel you have no confidence.
You have difficulty sleeping or wake up very early in the morning and can’t sleep again.
Physical Symptoms of Depression include:
Changes in weight – either significant loss or gain in weight.
Physical aches and pains, sometimes with the fear that you are seriously ill.
Some more Severe Symptoms of Depression include:
Thoughts about death or suicide.
Poor concentration, memory, or attention.
A common symptom of depression, as voiced by Hamlet: “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!”
Importantly, there are also other illnesses that may produce similar symptoms to depression, and that requires a very different treatment. Your doctor will be able to test for these.
The way our thought process works, how depression affects our biology, and where the physical symptoms of depression come from are the most vital pieces of information needed to Understand Depression.
Symptoms needed to meet the criteria for ‘depressive episode’ in ICD-10:
A – Depressed Mood
Loss of interest and enjoyment
Reduced energy and decreased activity
B – Reduced concentration
Reduced self-esteem and confidence
Ideas of guilt and unworthiness
Ideas of self-harm
Mild depressive episode – at least 2 of A and at least 2 of B
Moderate depressive episode – at least 2 of A and at least 3 of B
Severe depressive episode – all 3 of A and at least 4 of B
The severity of symptoms and degree of functional impairment also guide classification.