Depression hurts. That’s a fact. The symptoms of deppression cause real mental, emotional and physical anguish. It’s true that different types of depression such as bipolar disorder and dysthymia can have different symptoms. Those with clinical depression often report feeling as if they live with an overwhelming and inescapable sense of impending doom. Others don’t feel sad. Rather, they feel empty, tired or listless. Others are just filled with apathy. They find that they don’t care about anything anymore.
Signs and symptoms of depression not only vary within the spectrum of the disease, they also are different for different people. They can wax and wane over time. That means that sometimes the symptoms flare up. At others, the depressed individual feels fine.
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of depression. If you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with the disease, it’s a good idea to seek out assistance from a qualified medical or mental health professional.
- Feelings of helplessness and/or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite changes (increase or decrease)
- Weight fluctuations (gaining or losing more than 5% of body weight in a month)
- Altered sleeping patterns. Depressed people will often sleep a lot more (hypersomnia) or a lot less (insomnia).
- Feeling restless or wired
- Experiencing sluggishness and listlessnes
- Loss of energy
- Strong feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness
- Difficulty focusing on tasks and/or concentrating
- Memory loss
- Easily annoyed
- Bowel problems (diarrhea or constipation)
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of sexual desire and/or sexual dysfunction
- Aching joints
- Increased crying and/or anger
- Sensitivity to rejection
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide (****SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY!****)
The existence of these symptoms for at least two weeks is a good indicator that you or someone close to you is depressed. Learning to recognize the early signs of depresion including the above symptoms is the first step to getting better.