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Common Symptoms Of Depression: Here’s What You Should Know

Do you feel depressed? But not sure if it is actually depression or the occasional mood swings. Here’s why knowing the symptoms of depression becomes essential.

Everyone sometimes feels sad, but depression is different from that. There is a need for treatment since it is a mental disorder.

As per WHO, around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Regardless of their background, depression affects people from all walks of life. People of various ages can also be affected.

It persists over time and can result in various additional symptoms, such as sadness, rage, impatience, fatigue, and trouble focusing.

If you are suffering from depression, it’s crucial to understand the common symptoms of depression. Further, identifying the causes of depression can help you with treating it. 

So, let’s dive deep to know more about these symptoms.

Common Types Of Depression

Symptoms of depression vary according to the type of depression that one is suffering from. So, it is important to have a basic understanding of the common types of depression. So, here we go.

Common Types Of Depression

Major Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)

Major Depression is one of the most common yet severe forms of depression. In this condition, one loses interest in all activities, including those that are usually enjoyable.  

Its symptoms include difficulty sleeping, changes in food or weight, fatigue, and a sense of worthlessness. It’s also possible to have suicidal or deathly thoughts. 

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

PDD is characterized by a persistently poor mood that lasts for at least two years but may not become as severe as major depression. Earlier, PDD was referred to as “dysthymia”.

Many people who suffer from this sort of depression can go about their daily lives yet frequently feel depressed or joyless. 

Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

A person with bipolar disorder experiences mood episodes that span from extremes of great energy and an “up” mood to “low depressive” periods.

An inflated sense of self-worth, a reduced need for sleep, thoughts and activity that move more quickly, and an intensified pursuit of pleasure like overspending are some of the symptoms of manic symptoms. 

Although being manic can feel wonderful, it seldom lasts for long. It can result in harmful behavior followed by depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal depression is a type of major depressive disorder that normally develops in the fall and winter months and subsides in the spring and summer. 

Changes in the body’s natural daily rhythms, the eyes’ sensitivity to light, or the way chemical messengers like serotonin and melatonin work may be to blame for the mood change. 

Perinatal (Postpartum) Depression

This type of depression occurs during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after delivery. It can have devastating effects on the depressed woman, her infant, and her family too. 

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)

PMDD can be referred to as a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. PMDD symptoms usually begin soon after ovulation and diminish once menstruation begins. They can be serious enough to affect your daily activities.

Common Symptoms Of Depression

Although the physical and signs of symptoms of depression differ from person to person, some are common. 

It’s crucial to keep in mind that these symptoms can be a part of the typical bad experiences in life. The number, intensity, and duration of your symptoms increase your likelihood of experiencing depression.

We have listed below some of these common symptoms of depression. Have a look.

Symptoms Of Depression

Persistent Sadness

Persistent sadness is one of the hallmark symptoms of depression. It goes beyond the usual ups and downs of life and is characterized by a deep and pervasive sense of unhappiness. Individuals with depression may feel a constant sense of despair, emptiness, or hopelessness. These feelings can last for weeks or even months, significantly affecting their emotional well-being and ability to function normally.

In addition to persistent sadness, individuals with depression may also experience a loss of interest and pleasure in activities they once enjoyed. This symptom, known as anhedonia, can make it challenging to find joy or motivation in anything, leading to social withdrawal and isolation. It is essential to recognize persistent sadness as a potential symptom of depression and seek professional help if these feelings persist.

Loss of Interest: Identifying a Lack of Motivation and Enjoyment in Activities

A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable is another common symptom of depression. Individuals with depression often find themselves disinterested in hobbies, socializing, or even basic self-care activities. They may have difficulty finding pleasure or motivation in anything, leading to a sense of emptiness and apathy.

This loss of interest can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It can affect their relationships, work performance, and overall sense of well-being. Recognizing this symptom is crucial in identifying potential depression and seeking appropriate support and treatment.

Felling Annoyed

A depressed individual could appear to be furious with others. They could be quickly upset and annoyed.

You may become touchy or irritated over trivial issues if you’re depressed. You can also express your annoyance by acting out, such as by slamming doors or throwing things.

In children and adolescents, anger, impatience, and temper tantrums are frequently shown as signs of depression.

Fatigue and Lack of Energy: Recognizing Constant Tiredness and Lack of Motivation

Fatigue and lack of energy are common symptoms experienced by individuals with depression. They may feel constantly tired, even after getting enough sleep, and struggle to find the motivation to engage in daily activities. This persistent lack of energy can make it challenging to perform basic tasks, affecting work, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Fatigue in depression is not just physical but also mental. Individuals may find it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, or engage in activities that require mental effort. Recognizing these symptoms can help individuals seek appropriate support and treatment to manage their depression effectively.

Difficulty Concentrating and Making Decisions: Understanding Cognitive Impairment in Depression

Cognitive impairment is a frequently overlooked symptom of depression. Individuals with depression may experience difficulties concentrating, remembering things, and making decisions. This mental fog can significantly impact their ability to perform well at work or school and affect their overall productivity.

It is important to recognize that cognitive impairment in depression is not a reflection of a person’s intelligence or capability. Rather, it is a manifestation of the underlying mental health condition. By understanding this symptom, individuals can seek appropriate help and support to manage their cognitive difficulties and improve their overall functioning.

Thoughts of Death or Suicide: Recognizing the Severity of Depression and Seeking Help

One of the most critical symptoms of depression is the presence of thoughts of death or suicide. Individuals with depression may experience intrusive thoughts about dying or have a persistent desire to escape their pain. It is crucial to recognize the severity of these thoughts and seek immediate help and support.

Thoughts of death or suicide should never be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, reach out to a mental health professional or a helpline right away. Remember, there is help available, and you are not alone in your struggle.

Changes in Appetite and Weight: Noticing Significant Weight Gain or Loss

Changes in appetite and weight are often observed in individuals with depression. While some individuals may experience a decrease in appetite and subsequent weight loss, others may turn to food as a source of comfort, leading to weight gain. These changes can be significant and affect a person’s physical health and self-esteem.

It is important to note that not everyone with depression will experience changes in appetite and weight. However, if these changes are coupled with other symptoms of depression, it may indicate a more significant underlying issue. Monitoring and recognizing these changes can assist in the early identification and management of depression.

Feeling Anxious

People who are depressed frequently experience worry and anxiety. The two can readily lead to one another, with anxiety frequently coming before depression.

Nearly half of the people who have major depression experience severe and persistent anxiety. 

Some common anxiety symptoms are nervousness, restlessness, or a sense of tension. One may also experience rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, heavy sweating, and muscle twitching. 

Anxiety is sometimes also accompanied by feelings of danger, panic, or dread. A depressed person with anxiety may also find it difficult to focus and think clearly.

Sleeping Problems

Sleep and depression are closely linked. 

75% of those who suffer from depression have problems sleeping or staying asleep. This means that such people may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. They might also occasionally feel excessively sleepy throughout the day. 

Sleep disorders like insomnia, hypersomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea can often be linked to depression. According to estimates, 15% of those with hypersomnia and 20% of those with depression have obstructive sleep apnea.

Having sleep issues can exacerbate depression, creating a vicious cycle between the two that is hard to break.

Loss Of Interest In Activities

The happiness or pleasure of the things people love can be dampened by depression. 

Some depressed people experience a loss of interest in the activities or things they once found enjoyable. Hobbies, sports, pastimes, socializing with friends, music, and sexual activity are a few examples. 

They might decline offers to engage in activities or socialize and decide against doing things they once enjoyed.

Thoughts Of Self-harm Or Suicide

Depression is a common yet serious illness that poses a threat to life. Depressed people may have thoughts of self-harm and death. This is because they think there is no way out to end their suffering nor there’s someone who can help them. 

According to the American Association Of Suicidology, about 7 out of every 100 males and 1 out of every 100 women with a diagnosis of depression will eventually commit suicide. Major depressive disorder patients have a 20 times higher risk of suicide than the overall population.

Often depressed people try to show their depression symptoms before ending their lives. Therefore, It is crucial to provide help immediately if someone mentions death or suicide because this could be a way for them to ask for it. It is crucial to either call a doctor or assist the patient in getting urgent medical attention.

Physical Symptoms Of Depression

Depression is frequently accompanied by physical symptoms, and in fact, depression frequently shows up as vague aches and pains. 

Serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters affecting mood and pain, have a deeper biochemical connection between physical pain and depression than a simple cause-and-effect relationship. Both depression and pain have been linked to the dysregulation of these transmitters. 

The severity of depression increases with the painful physical symptoms. It has been discovered that the physical symptoms lengthen depressive mood.

The most common physical symptoms of depression include the following.

  • Back pain
  • Gastrointestinal problem
  • Chronic joint pain
  • Limb pain
  • Tiredness
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychomotor activity changes

Symptoms Based On The Classification Of Depression

The symptoms of depression can vary based on an array of factors. Your symptoms’ types, their intensity, and their frequency are among these. 

Depression can be classified as:

  1. mild
  2. moderate
  3. severe or major

Below are the symptoms of depression based on this classification.

Symptoms For Mild Depression

Mild depression can result in:

  • irritation or rage
  • feelings of guilt
  • hopelessness
  • a decline in your interest in previously loved activities
  • having trouble concentrating at work
  • exhaustion
  • insomnia
  • changes in appetite
  • weight fluctuations
  • lack of  motivation
  • an abrupt drop in social engagement
  • aches and pains without a clear cause
  • risky actions, such as alcohol and substance abuse

A persistent depressive disorder (chronic depression) diagnosis is likely if the above symptoms last for most of the day, on average, four days a week for two years.  

Symptoms For Chronic Depression

These symptoms include:

  • low energy
  • appetite changes
  • difficulties with concentration
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • sleep disturbances

Symptoms For Moderate Depression

If you have moderate or chronic depression, you have the below symptoms:

  • low self-esteem
  • exhaustion 
  • reduced productivity
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • lower levels of energy
  • increased sensitivities
  • excessive worrying

Symptoms For Severe Depression 

Severe depression can show up the following symptoms:

  • feeling down
  • sleep problems
  • appetite problems 
  • changes in motion
  • loss of joy 
  • feeling guilty and useless
  • suicidality

Do Depression Symptoms Change With Gender?

Yes, they do.

The development and formation of one’s mental health can be significantly influenced by gender. It is estimated that women are diagnosed with depression nearly twice as often as men.

Around the age of ten, this gender-based difference only becomes noticeable, and it lasts until middle life when the rates of depression in men and women are once more comparable. Let’s understand some common yet differentiating symptoms in women and men.

Depression in women can show up the following common emotional symptoms:

  • guilt
  • worthlessness
  • hopelessness
  • inability to feel joy
  • mood swings

While the common emotional symptoms of depression in men include:

  • anger
  • irritability
  • restlessness

Similarly, the common cognitive and behavioral symptoms in women are:

  • self-criticism
  • sense of control
  • crying for no obvious reason
  • decreased appetite
  • suicide attempts

The common cognitive and behavioral symptoms in men are:

  • obsessive-compulsive thought patterns
  • memory problems
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Racing thoughts
  • excessive alcohol/drug use
  • risky behavior
  • suicide realization

The Bottom Line

Millions of people worldwide experience depression each year. Anyone can depressed even if there is a reason or not. A person should see a doctor if they suspect they could have depression and have visible symptoms of it. 

The best thing is that depression can be treated. Depression treatment can control the symptoms and stop them from growing worse after a proper diagnosis of depression.

It is advisable that if you are experiencing depression symptoms, you should speak with your healthcare professional. You’ll recover faster if you seek assistance as soon as possible.

We at Relevance Recovery provide primary mental health care in New Jersey. We help you assist in identifying and diagnosing mental health conditions and offering genuinely compassionate treatment for everything from depression and anxiety to Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. We are just a click away!

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