The word depression is used in many different ways. People feel sad or blue when bad things happen. However, everyday “blues” or sadness is not a depressive disorder. We all may have a short-term depressed mood, but we cope and soon recover without treatment. A major depressive disorder lasts for at least two weeks and affects a person’s ability to work, to carry out usual daily activities, and to have satisfying personal relationships.
Symptoms of Depression
A person who is clinically depressed would have at least one of these two symptoms, nearly everyday, for at least two weeks:
- An unusually sad mood
- Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
The person also might have these symptoms:
- Feeling worthless or feeling guilty thought not really at fault
- Lack of energy and tiredness
- Thinking often about death or wishing to be dead
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Moving more slowly or sometimes becoming agitated and unable to settle
- Having sleeping difficulties or sometime sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in food or sometimes eating too much. Changes in eating habits may lead to either loss of weight or weight loss.
Affects of Depression
Emotions – Sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, mood swings, lack of emotional responsiveness, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, irritability.
Thoughts – Frequent self-criticism, self-blame, worry, pessimism, impaired memory and concentration, indecisiveness and confusion, a tendency to believe others see you in a negative light, thoughts of death and suicide.
Behavior – Crying spells, withdrawal from other, neglect of responsibilities, loss of interest in personal appearance, loss of motivation, slowed down, using alcohol or other drugs.
Physical – Chronic fatigue, lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, overeating or loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss or gain, headaches, irregular menstrual cycle, loss of sexual desire, unexplained aches and pains.