Depression is an extremely insidious disease. It works on many fronts, attacking our thinking, emotions, motivation, appetite or sleep. It can manifest itself very differently in two different people, depending on many factors, such as personality and the influence of the environment. Moreover, the signs of depression do not always occur simultaneously and vary in severity.
Diagnosing depression is a challenge for a physician with appropriate knowledge and experience. However, it is worth knowing the most common symptoms of depression in order to be able to react early if we notice them in ourselves or in someone close to us. Being aware of the changes that depression causes in behavior will allow us to be more alert to the possible appearance of the first signs of the disease.
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How often is depression manifested, and what should make us seek support? When should we differentiate the usual deterioration of mood that happens to all of us from the developing disease? As mentioned above, depression, or unipolar disorder, causes cognitive, somatic, emotional and motivational symptoms. In many cases, it also leads to the emergence of suicidal thoughts and attempts. Consider seeing a doctor if you or your loved ones develop any of the following symptoms:
- depressed mood (sadness and / or depression) lasting two weeks or more – all of us have worse days. Usually, however, the mood improves in a short time, and we forget the cause of sadness. The time criterion is important in the diagnosis of depression – if the bad mood lasts for more than two weeks and does not improve, you should start thinking about the appearance of the disease,
- feeling of sadness and depression persistent or worsening in the morning – it is extremely typical for depression to wake up early in the morning, accompanied by fear of the coming day and a feeling of inability to cope with planned tasks,
- emotional indifference – people suffering from depression may find it difficult not only to show positive emotions, but also negative ones – it is difficult for them to laugh, cry or scream, they are apathetic and their facial expressions are extremely poor,
- lack of a positive reaction to things that were enjoyed in the past, loss of interest – these extremely typical symptoms of depression make almost every attempt to improve the mood of a sick person fails. Cessation of pursuing your passions intensifies, even leading to neglect of daily needs, such as personal hygiene, getting dressed or eating,
- lack of strength and energy, impaired concentration – depression makes even the simplest task seem like an insurmountable obstacle. It reduces our willingness to act, makes us feel excessively sleepy during the day, it is difficult to focus on the task at hand, which may result in worse results at work or studies. In the eyes of the patient, this confirms his negative beliefs (the so-called pessimistic “automatic thoughts”, characteristic of depression) about himself and the environment and leads to a vicious circle and blaming himself,
- sleep and appetite disorders – apart from the characteristic early morning awakening accompanied by anxiety (as mentioned above), depression can manifest itself as shallow sleep and waking up at night. Sleep disturbances lead to an inability to rest and constant fatigue.
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Moreover, a sick person’s appetite can either be significantly reduced, resulting in weight loss, or on the contrary, there is excessive hunger and even binge eating episodes.
suicidal thoughts – never underestimate the appearance of suicidal thoughts. If it concerns ourselves, let’s talk to someone we trust. If, on the other hand, we hear statements from our loved ones about taking our own life, we should not hesitate to call for medical help.
Remember that depression is a disease that can be effectively treated, and the key is to get the help of a specialist quickly enough – preferably a psychiatrist and psychologist. Knowing about the symptoms of depression will help us to better care for the mental health of both ourselves and our loved ones.