Clinical depression is a medical condition that goes beyond everyday sadness. It can cause profound, long-lasting symptoms and often interferes with one’s usual daily activities. A person’s vulnerability to developing this disorder is often related to many factors, including changes in brain function, genetics, and life stresses and circumstances
There may be a reluctance to discuss depression symptoms for several reasons:
- concerns about the stigma of mental illness
- some see their condition as a personal weakness rather than a “real” illness
- worried about the implications of having a psychiatric illness entered into their permanent record.
A person must have five or more of the following symptoms present most of the day nearly every day for at least two consecutive weeks and at least one symptom must be either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure:
- Depressed mood: feeling sad, hopeless, discouraged, “blue,” or “down in the dumps.” Sometimes, feeling anxious, “blah,” or have no feelings, annoyed, frustrated, irritable, or angry.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all activities: no longer interested in or feel as much pleasure doing the things you use to enjoy. Hobbies and activities lose their appeal, and “just don’t care anymore”, withdraw from or lose interest in friends, and even lose interest in sex.
- Change in appetite or weight– Appetite and weight can either decrease or increase as part of depression. Some people have to force themselves to eat, while others eat more.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too little or too much)– Depression often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to sleep too much or be unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, do not feel rested and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.
- Restlessness or sluggishness: feeling agitated and restless, or have the opposite effect and feel slowed down. Restlessness can manifest as hand-wringing, pacing, and fidgeting, while sluggishness can manifest as a slowing of body movements, thinking, or speech.
- Fatigue or loss of energy: feeling exhausted and listless. Needing to rest during the day or even feel as though your arms and legs are weighted down and having trouble starting or completing tasks.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt: feeling inadequate, inferior, worthless, or like a failure. Carry tremendous guilt about things you may have done or not done. Often this leads to misinterpret neutral events or minor setbacks as evidence of personal failings.
- Poor concentration: difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions, can also be easily distracted or complain of memory problems.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide: experience recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, and may attempt suicide.
People with untreated depression can have a lower quality of life, a higher risk of suicide, and worse physical prognoses if they have any medical conditions besides depression. Depression affects not only the person with the disorder but also those around them. You are not alone and there is help for you.
If you or someone you know match the symptoms listed above, I am confident that I can help and invite you to contact me today for a free consultation.