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What Are The Symptoms of Depression?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 27 Nov 2014 | comments*Discuss
Symptoms Depression Doctor Person Family

Many people feel sad on occasion and this is considered a normal part of life. Ups and downs are typical for many people but depression is more than just 'feeling down' or 'blue.' Depression is much more severe than just feeling sad once in a while. It can last for months to years and disrupts daily functioning as well as preventing a person from living each day to the fullest. You may feel upset sometimes but find that you work through these feelings and are able to cope successfully. If however, these feelings of sadness remain and prevent you from functioning, you may be suffering from depression. Symptoms of depression interfere with an individual's capacity to eat, sleep, work, socialize and to simply enjoy life each day.

Emotional Symptoms

The emotional symptoms of depression can be overwhelming. Intense sadness, hopelessness and misery may occur, combined with an overall feeling of helplessness when a person realizes they can't cope with the pain of their symptoms. Many people lose interest in daily activities and find they no longer reap pleasure from activities they once enjoyed. Other symptoms that may be experienced are:

  • Guilt
  • Crying
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety

Mental Symptoms

A depressed person often has different ways of thinking and tends to suffer from low self-esteem and a poor self-image. He or she may feel like a failure and will worry that others see this same quality. Other ways that depression may manifest in a depressed person's thinking patterns are:

  • Low confidence
  • Thinking that life is unfair
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Trouble focusing
  • Thinking you are a burden
  • Believing you always make mistakes

Physical Symptoms

Depression doesn't just involve changes in how a person feels and thinks-it can also leave an individual with a range of physical symptoms. A depressed person may feel exhausted, extremely fatigued, sore, achy and generally lethargic. Many people find that they also experience weight changes as their appetite is reduced or in some cases, increased. Other physical symptoms common to depression are:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chest pains
  • Back pain
  • Muscle aches

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal thoughts may seem like an extreme end result of depression but they can occur at any time during depression. The unfortunate reality is that many of the initial signs of depression are missed and it is only when a suicide attempt occurs that friends and family members become aware of the loved one's depression. A depressed person may 'hint' at their suicidal thoughts by saying, 'I can't do this anymore' or 'I have nothing to live for.' Signs that a person is severely depressed and may be contemplating suicide are:

  • Talking about suicide, even in a detached manner
  • Making jokes about suicide
  • Sharing a 'plan' for suicide
  • Generally speaking about death

Symptoms Shared With Other Disorders

Doctors also see people who have more generalized symptoms and this can be challenging to correlate with depression. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive amount of sleep
  • Sexual problems

Many people will fail to recognise the symptoms of depression and the symptoms can progress, sometimes to the point of suicide. If you have been experiencing any symptoms of depression for more than a couple of weeks and they are preventing you from functioning in a normal capacity, you should see your doctor. The impact on a depressed person's life, friends and family can be devastating. It's important to see a doctor in the early stages of depression, so that you can receive accurate diagnosis and treatment. Nobody should suffer from depression and the sooner you recognise the symptoms and obtain help, the sooner you can start to feel better.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Saifazam. Have the doctors been no help? You could try some of the many fantastic charities in the UK, such as:
The Depression Alliance
Depression UK
OvercomeDepression - 28-Nov-14 @ 11:25 AM
Hi sir, My father is having some kind of depression problem.He is now 57.He was having a thinking that being old is like a curse.As now,he is old he kept on thinking of "Now i am old and dependent on medicines".He is now taking medicine of high BP and sleeping disorder.Matter has reached to such extent that he attempted suicide twiceby taking sleeping medicine like zepiz 0.5 and trika 5 in about 40 in number.We family member don'nt know what to do now.We have already tried a lot and consulted too many doctors as well.Please suggest what to do now.Please any suggestion.
saif azam - 27-Nov-14 @ 11:19 AM
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