One often hears, how most people are not aware of depression and when a grave tragedy occurs (like depression- related suicide/death) in the family or in the immediate social surroundings, they are surprised to know, that depression is the cause.
Depression should not be confused with the occasional emotion of feeling low from time to time, since that is a normal part of life. But, if there is persistence of the feeling-blue, then one needs to take medical advice and not feel shy because of fear of societal stigmatization.
Following are the crucial symptoms of clinical depression as per Helpguide:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A lonely attitude—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve the situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. Losing the ability of feeling joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (hypersomnia)
- Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Low tolerance level. Everyone gets on your nerves.
- Feeling exhausted, lethargic, and physically drained. Feeling heavy, even small tasks seem so big
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Criticizing oneself harshly
- Reckless behavior. Engaging in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
Men and women, react differently to depression. In fact even age plays a significant role in how people react to depression; so a teenager would have different symptoms from an adult.
In men, depression is often seen as a weakness, a blot to their macho image. And this is one of the reasons, that men do not seek medical intervention earlier. The most telling signs of depression in men are: sleep problems, fatigue and irritability. Anger, aggression and substance abuse are others.
In women, most pronounced symptoms are excessive sleep, guilt and overeating. The rates of depression are much higher in women, than in men.
The above-mentioned symptoms are basic guide symptoms for identifying depression in self, or a loved one. Identification is the crucial first step, since many a precious life has been lost, due to lack of identification.
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