Symptoms of DepressionQUESTION: Symptoms of depression - What are they?ANSWER:
Before we get into the symptoms of depression, let us first look into the meaning of depression. It is described as mental illness in which a person experiences deep, unshakable sadness and diminished interest in nearly all activities. Depression can also mean temporary sadness, loneliness, or blues that everyone feels from time to time. There is also severe depression in which a person is unable to function in social situations and at work. They feel despair, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Thoughts of suicide can also manifest itself.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. Eight percent of adults in the United States experience serious depression at some point during their lives, and estimates range as high as 17 percent. Depression has no preference as to social background, sex, race, or ethnicity. However, women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men to suffer. Some cite differences in hormones, and others point to the stress caused by society's expectations of women.
The symptoms of depression may appear anytime from childhood to old age, but the outbreaks usually begin during a person's 20's or 30's. It may come on slowly, and then gradually deepen over months or years. On the other hand, it may erupt suddenly in a few weeks or days. A person suffering from severe depression may appear so confused, frightened, and unbalanced that observers may speak of it as a "nervous breakdown."
A person with major depression is sad nearly every day and may cry often. Many areas of their life that once held pleasure are now tossed aside with no interest in anything, and the focus becomes the depression.
Symptoms of depression can vary by age. In younger children, depression may include physical complaints, such as stomachaches and headaches, as well as irritability, "moping around," social withdrawal, and changes in eating habits. There may be no enthusiasm as far as school or other activities. In adolescents, common symptoms include sad mood, sleep disturbances, and lack of energy. Elderly people usually complain of physical rather than emotional problems which can sometimes lead doctors to misdiagnose the illness.
Symptoms of depression are:
- Appetite and Sleep Changes -Depression altars a person's appetite, sometimes increasing it, but usually reducing it. Sleep habits change. Depression causes a person to oversleep, but more commonly, sleep for fewer hours. Early morning is often the saddest time for the depressed person.
- Changes in Energy Level - Some depressed people may be restless and agitated, engaging in fidgety movements and pacing. Others are sluggish and inactive with a lot of fatigue. The feelings are expressed as "feeling worn out" or taking on the appearance of carrying a heavy burden. There is usually difficulty in thinking, poor concentration, and problems with memory.
- Poor Self-Esteem -In depression, there is a feeling of worthlessness, helplessness, guilt, and self-blame. Depressed people often feel incompetent or interpret minor criticism as condemnation. The person complains of being spiritually or morally dead. The mirror reflects someone ugly and repulsive. In severe depression, the emotional pain is so bad that thoughts of suicide are considered.
- Psychotic Symptoms -Some depression causes psychotic symptoms such as delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (false sensory perceptions). This is considered quite serious, and people with these symptoms should be hospitalized. Their stay in the hospital is long, and upon leaving, they are more likely to be moody, unhappy, and sometimes suicidal.