Symptoms of Depression
If you have noticed a change in the behavior of a friend or you have been feeling down yourself, you may be wondering what the symptoms of depression are. Depression has many different symptoms and the presence of some does not guarantee a diagnosis of depression. Likewise, not all symptoms have to be present for a patient to have depression. If the following symptoms of depression last for two weeks or more, it is a good idea to consult a health professional.
Some symptoms of depression are noticeable to those around the depressed person because they exhibit a quantifiable change in mood or behavior. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) these symptoms include:
- Irritability and restlessness
- Decreased or lost interest in hobbies and other activities
- Overeating and appetite loss
Other symptoms of depression may only be noticed or felt by the patient, but will be very obvious and sometimes overwhelming. The NIMH also lists the following as symptoms of depression:
- Long term sad, anxious and empty feelings
- A consistent hopeless or pessimistic outlook
- Loss of interest in favorite activities, including sex
- Struggle to concentrate or remember
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lasting aches and pains that do not respond to treatment
Often, depression does not occur as an isolated illness, but is attached to other diseases. The NIMH reports that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is highly linked to depression, and that depression and substance abuse is common among the American population. Other diseases linked to depression include stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. The Rhode Island Department of Health reports that diabetic patients are twice as likely to develop depression than those without diabetes. According to The National Women’s Health Information Center, about 13% of women experience depression during pregnancy or after childbirth. No matter what the cause, symptoms of depression tend to be the same.
The United States Navy points out that it is important to note that depressed individuals may deny having depression and also withdraw from much needed social support. Work-related accidents can increase with depression, and depression increases the risk of suicide and other dangerous behaviors.
With these symptoms of depression in mind, don’t disregard changes in the behavior of a friend, or your own behavior. Depression can be treated and those with depression can easily have healthy and fulfilling lives. However, the condition must be recognized before anything can be done to improve it.