Symptoms and signs of depression

Often in everyday life we say things like: “I am depressed”, “I have no energy”, “I wake up exhausted”, “I can’t find joy in life”, “Everyone gets on my nerves”…We are troubled by lack of desire, feeling of inner emptiness…feeling that we are incompetent…fatigue, insomnia, suicidal thoughts…

If you woke up one day and realized that life is meaningless and stupid, if you feel that nothing can get better because future holds no promise, if you feel a lack of interest in things that only recently made you happy, then…Maybe these feelings will pass tomorrow, and maybe they won’t. If this state persists for some time, ask yourself “What is happening to me?”
  
Not every instance of inner disquiet signals depression. Sadness, sorrow, melancholy – these are all special emotions, but depression represents a complex combination of feelings, representations, memories and thoughts. Many times in our lifetimes we experience sadness and that represents an appropriate reaction to events such as separation, disappointment, failure, loss. In depression, sadness is accompanied with other emotions, most often shame, loss of self-respect and feelings of aggression directed at oneself. If someone close to you, or you yourself, have begun to have an excessively gloomy outlook on life, you need to understand what you are facing – a strong emotional reaction to certain events in life or a psychological disorder. 

How to distinguish depression from bad mood? At what moment does the illness take over, leading you to question your well-being and ask for professional help?

Typical signs of depression

Typical signs of depression are:

  • Low (dark, depressed, sad) mood
  • Loss of interest and enjoyment in things and activities that were enjoyable before
  • Loss of energy, which leads to increased fatigue and decrease in level of activity.

In addition to these, there are other symptoms that often accompany the basic signs of depression:

  • Lowered ability to focus attention and to concentrate
  • Low valuation of one’s state and lack of self-confidence
  • Thoughts about guilt and self-guilt
  • Dark and pessimistic view of the future
  • Thoughts or actions related to suicide or self-harm
  • Sleep disturbance: insomnia, difficulties falling asleep or waking up early
  • Appetite disturbance: more often, lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Disturbance in sexual desire
  • Noticeable slowing down or restlessness in the depressed person
  • Increased despondency and depressive states in morning hours, or small improvements in the evening

Additionally, one can experience a variety of unpleasant bodily sensations – back pains, especially in the evenings, or feeling of sunburn on the skin, or cramping sensations in the chest and stomach, or feeling of heaviness in your chest making it hard to breathe, or a clawing feeling inside the chest. 

Very often the person takes everything being said personally, especially unpleasant things (“that’s my fault”, “I’ve always had bad luck”), which also signals a state of depression. If some of these signs last less than two weeks, but appear everyday, taking up a significant portion of one’s day, in this case one should consider depression as an illness that requires treatment.

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