Depression has often been called the “common cold” of mood disorders. Most people have had bad feelings when they felt sad, but the feelings usually go away. When the condition persists, it’s time to seek professional help. Not everyone experiences the same depression symptoms, but those below are among the most common.
- Pervasive Sadness – Feelings of sadness that do no go away and are unrelated to real life are the classic hallmark of depression.
- Anhedonia – Hand-in-hand with sadness is anhedonia, the inability to experience happiness. Whether the pleasure is great or small, the person feels numb to it.
- Social Withdrawal – A depressed person often cuts down on time with friends and family. This can be due to an inability to enjoy time spent socializing, but it can also be fueled by a desire not to burden others.
- Disinterest – Hobbies and pastimes that were once enthusiastically pursued are no longer appealing.
- Difficulty Concentrating – A person who is depressed often has a hard time focusing. Tasks may be started, but quickly abandoned, or pages of a book may be read, but not absorbed or remembered.
- Negative Thinking – Depression can bring a welter of negative thoughts, worries and fears. A minor setback can seem like the end of the road, while an offer of help can be seen as criticism.
- Feeling Helpless And Overwhelmed – Depression can make a usually capable person feel unable to cope with work, relationships and other aspects of life. Job performance can suffer, though sometimes this is simply the sufferer’s perception.
- Feeling Hopeless – Depression takes away hope for the future. The depressed person feels nothing will change, and there is nothing to look forward to.
- Low Self-Esteem – Depression can lead to feelings of worthlessness and guilt, as well as to blaming oneself for anything that goes wrong.
- Poor Self-Care – A depressed person may stop paying attention to hygiene and physical appearance. Rumpled clothes or unwashed hair can reflect what’s going on inside.
- Lethargy – Depression is often accompanied by a profound sense of fatigue. Everything seems like a huge effort, and thinking, as well as movement may be slowed.
- Agitation – Physical restlessness can also be a sign of depression. Pacing, moving from room to room without cause, or obsessive walking can be attempts to dissipate the uncomfortable feelings.
- Irritability – Depression erodes the ability to tolerate frustrations and disagreements. It also adds to the person’s sense of suffering unfairly, which can lead to outbursts of misdirected anger.
- Appetite Or Sleep Disorders – The person might shun food or continuously overeat. The same extremes are true of sleep problems, which include insomnia, as well as excessive oversleeping.
- Physical Discomfort – Aches and pains that are not caused by a physical condition are sometimes rooted in depression.
- Risky Behavior – Depression can prompt the sufferer to seek relief in dangerous activities such as drinking, drug use, reckless driving or hooking up with random strangers.
- Suicidal Thoughts – Contrary to the myth, people who talk about suicide are serious. They require immediate help from a mental health professional.
Since depression symptoms can also be caused by physical conditions, a doctor’s exam is a good place to start the diagnostic process.