If you list the possible symptoms of depression, there are hundreds of them, because almost any discomfort in the body or change in the psyche can be a manifestation of it.
We took the most common symptoms and combined them into nine groups. They closely mimic the Hamilton Depression Scale , a questionnaire template that psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and general practitioners can use to identify depression. In this scale, we collect a minimum standard questions that help the doctor did not forget to collect the maximum information.
Remember that the most accurate way to rule out depression is to talk to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist.
Here is a list of signs that you might suspect depression.
1 Depressed mood lasts longer than two weeks
Anyone can be in a bad, depressed mood – to get up on the wrong foot, get very upset about work or personal life. And it so happened that in everyday life a bad mood for several hours or days can be called “depression.” There is no mistake in this, we are just so used to it.
If the bad mood lasts two weeks or longer , then it may be part of the depression-like illness. This condition will not go away on its own and requires the help of specialists. This criterion can be found in the document according to which all doctors in the world work – ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases of the 10th revision). ICD-10 summarizes the results of international medical research and recommends a list of criteria by which any disorder can be diagnosed. A period of two weeks is one of the main signs of clinical depression.
Can depression develop faster? Of course, if a person has other pronounced symptoms (suicidal tendencies, refusal to eat, obsessive thoughts about their own sinfulness), the doctor will not wait two weeks to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment. In case of serious symptoms, the doctor is obliged to urgently save the person, and the diagnosis, in fact, is not very important.
The mood in depression is more depressed than sad. The person slows down, becomes less energetic and can not find the strength to work and have fun. He may be sad and cry more often, but depression and desolation are more common symptoms.
A person may be sad and cry more often, but depression and devastation are more common symptoms.
2 There is nothing to cheer up
A characteristic symptom of depression is a bad mood and an inability to have fun and have fun (anhedonia). The jokes of others cause a sour expression on the face and a strained, polite laugh; your favorite handicrafts are covered with dust, your gym membership burns out, and an evening with friends turns into endless torture.
Everything that previously caused sharp and pleasant emotions becomes uninteresting and physically unbearable, therefore only the most necessary things remain in life – work and minimal living .
Favorite handicrafts are covered with dust, gym membership burns out, and an evening with friends turns into endless torture.
3 It becomes hard to work and to keep concentration, fatigue quickly sets in
On the one hand, motivation and interest are lost . On the other hand, it becomes physically difficult to move and think .
A depressed person thinks for a long time, finds it difficult to make a decision, he needs more time to remember or understand something. Conversation is difficult, and speech is constantly interrupted by long pauses.
When you’re depressed, you don’t have to hold conferences or unload trucks to feel tired and overwhelmed. Severe fatigue comes from normal activities – to work at the computer for several hours, to clean the house. After minimal exertion, the arms and legs are filled with lead, the muscles ache, and the head splits. We have to take rest breaks , although earlier it was possible to calmly “plow” for days.
We have to take rest breaks , although earlier it was possible to calmly “plow” for days.
4 Self-criticism rises, torments a strong sense of guilt
When a person is tired and after a couple of hours of work is ready to lie down, he is unlikely to think that this is a disease. In the first place he would think about laziness, procrastination, lack of discipline, the maximum – about fatigue and burnout. Working capacity will decline further, but instead of rest and the help of a doctor, he will most likely choose a job to the point of exhaustion and reproach himself that he is not working enough. Heightened self-criticism, increased demands on oneself are also symptoms of depression.
A strong feeling of guilt can spread to the events of the past (“I could have acted differently a few years ago”), a feeling of sinfulness, the belief that current problems are punishment, “karmic return” for past misdeeds may appear .
5 I don’t want to live
Depression affects not only mood, but also the instinct for self-preservation. When nothing brings pleasure, and any movement is given through force, one can begin to doubt – is it worth living at all? It is worth whether to protect yourself and move on?
A person does not immediately come to thoughts of leaving life. He may reflect on the pointlessness of living, be deeply pessimistic about the future, drink alcohol in dangerous quantities, inflict cuts and other injuries on himself.
If you think about suicide, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible, it is better to call an ambulance.
If you think about suicide, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible, it is better to call an ambulance.
6 Troubled sleep
Depression is characterized by various sleep problems known as insomnia. Doctors distinguish three types of insomnia – early, middle and late.
With early insomnia, you can’t fall asleep right away. If a person is constantly “tossing and turning” for half an hour or longer, this may be a sign of depression.
They say about average insomnia if a person sleeps restlessly, wakes up at night and then can not fall asleep for a long time . Single wake-ups for going to the toilet are not counted.
Late insomnia means waking up much earlier than the alarm clock. People with depression may wake up at five or six in the morning with the feeling that they have not closed their eyes at night. Sleep does not come anymore , and the person starts the day tired and overwhelmed.
7 Regular heart, head, stomach ache
For some people , psychosomatics comes to the fore. This means that in a bad mood or depression, anxiety, stress, disrupting the operation of the internal organs, and people in first drew attention to the problems of physical health. At the same time, he can assess his mood as “normal”.
How to distinguish psychosomatic disorders from gastritis or heart problems? First, in psychosomatics, the results of analyzes and instrumental studies are within the normal range; the therapist (gastroenterologist, neurologist, endocrinologist) does not find violations. Second, symptoms appear or worsen after stress. And finally, real relief comes only when a person begins treatment for depression – reducing stress levels with the help of medications (antidepressants) and psychotherapy. Pain relievers and other medications have a short-term effect.
How many internal organs and systems – there can be as many violations:
Digestion and excretion: dry mouth, flatulence, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, belching, frequent urination.
Heart: rapid heartbeat, chest pain .
Breathing: rapid breathing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing (dyspnea).
Nervous and endocrine system: headache, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), blurred vision, tremors (tremors in the limbs), alternating sensations of heat and cold, sweating.
Psychosomatics is considered a problem if it causes regular discomfort. It’s one thing when a head or stomach hurts rarely – before a very important exam or meeting. Another thing is when this happens several times a day from the slightest irritant.
It’s one thing when a head or stomach hurts rarely – before a very important exam or meeting. Another thing is when this happens several times a day from the slightest irritant.
8 Decreases or disappears interest in sex
A person ceases to get pleasure , including from sex, in which interest decreases. A person can determine this decrease subjectively, in relation to the attraction that he experienced before. Attraction can decrease, or it can disappear altogether.
9 Not hungry, or impossible to get enough
In Depending on the “tone” of bad temper appetite can raise or lower relative to the level that was at the person to depression.
If the appetite decreases, then it becomes difficult to finish eating your usual portion , there is a desire to skip one of the meals. A person can continue to eat for the company of loved ones, so as not to disturb them. But if he remains alone , he will not eat, because he is not hungry.
“Seizing Stress” – this is the opposite condition, when appetite increases or does not come at meal time, and when grief or increased anxiety. A person with depression does not stop eating when they are full, but when they feel a heavy weight in their stomach, or when they run out of food in the refrigerator.
I’ve seen these same signs in articles about neurasthenia, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. How is this possible?
Most of the signs and symptoms are indeed the same for different diseases. There are several points here.
Some of the symptoms are universal, they appear with any disease. Fever and headache can be signs of a mild cold, flu, recurrence of herpesvirus infection, and a dozen other illnesses. The same is true with increased fatigue, bad mood and other signs that we have listed. Therefore, first of all, it is important to suspect a disorder, and a specific diagnosis must be made together with a doctor.
There are diseases that some scientists and doctors consider to be two facets of one whole. For example, it is believed that neurasthenia (asthenic neurosis, increased fatigue) is a latent depression. This is confirmed by the fact that neurasthenia and depression are treated with the same drugs. In this case, it is not so important what the disease is called, it is important to detect and treat it.
Therefore, first of all, it is important to suspect a disorder, and a specific diagnosis must be made together with a doctor.
When a doctor thinks about a diagnosis, he not only looks for specific symptoms, but also looks at their combinations and order of occurrence. For example, if, after a few months of depression, the mood rises sharply to an unusually energetic, cheerful, and productive mood , this could indicate bipolar disorder. If a depressed mood is combined with thoughts that the person is being stalked, that they are being watched, that their body is being manipulated, it could be a sign of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. There are a lot of such nuances. To understand them, you need to read proven medical sources – textbooks on psychiatry and ICD-10. The faster and safer option is to see a doctor.
I noticed several signs from this article. What to do next?
Only a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist (not a psychologist) can confirm or deny the diagnosis of depression , so you need to contact them for examination and treatment recommendations .