Depression is a complex mental health disorder that arises from a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It can manifest in various symptoms that may initially appear mild but can worsen over time. Early detection and intervention are crucial to managing depression effectively. The following are 11 depression symptoms that should not be ignored:
Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
Individuals with depression often experience an overwhelming sense of sadness or emptiness that does not improve with activities or actions that would typically help. This persistent sadness may be accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and excessive crying.
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Depression can cause a person to lose interest in activities that previously brought pleasure, such as socialising, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in creative pursuits. This loss of interest can be a significant early indicator of depression.
Constant fatigue and lack of energy
Depression may lead to constant fatigue and a lack of energy, making it difficult for individuals to perform daily tasks, such as personal hygiene, eating, or attending work or school. This lack of energy can contribute to a worsening of depressive symptoms.
Irritability and mood swings
People with depression may exhibit irritability, anger outbursts, and mood swings. These symptoms can be accompanied by anxiety, hopelessness, and other emotional disturbances.
Physical pain and changes
Depression can cause various physical symptoms, including headaches, chest tightness, heaviness in the legs, hair loss, brittle nails, and back or stomach pain. Some individuals may also experience vomiting and tremors, which are often considered psychosomatic manifestations of depression.
Individuals with depression commonly experience sleep disorders, such as insomnia or early morning awakening, which can exacerbate feelings of fatigue and low energy.
Changes in appetite and weight
Depression can lead to a loss of appetite or changes in weight due to a combination of factors, such as low energy, physical pain, or irritability. These changes are often related to reduced serotonin production, which affects nutrient absorption and can result in significant weight loss or gain.
Depression can cause a lack of concentration, memory loss, persistent negative thoughts, and indecision, all of which can negatively impact work, school, or social life.
Thoughts of death or suicide
The cumulative effects of depressive symptoms may lead some individuals to consider death or suicide as a means of escaping their situation. It is crucial to take these thoughts seriously and seek professional help immediately.
Some individuals with depression may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with their symptoms, which can lead to addiction and other severe consequences. It is essential to monitor any significant personality changes that may indicate substance abuse.
Slowed thinking and psychomotor disturbances
Depression can interfere with psychomotor processing, resulting in slowed thinking, speech, and movement or, in some cases, agitation and restlessness.
A diagnosis of depression can only be confirmed by a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, following a comprehensive assessment of symptoms, lifestyle habits, health history, and family history. Early intervention is vital for effective treatment, which may include antidepressants, anxiolytics, and psychotherapy. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to seek professional help.
- NIH. Depression. Available on: <https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml>. Access in 25 Aug 2020
- MELROSE, Sherri. Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depression Research and Treatment. Vol.15. 1-6, 2015
- AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION. What Is Depression?. Available on: <https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression>. Access in 25 Aug 2020