Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of Depression
21/10/2019

Depression is different for everyone. It can often vary according to a person’s age, gender, personality traits, and cultural background, and people will often experience a range of different symptoms of depression. What we do know, however, is that depression is generally classified as when a person has been feeling down and sad for more than two weeks, and is finding it difficult to go about their usual activities.

If you or someone you know has felt this way for more than two weeks, it is advised that they seek help from a doctor or mental health practitioner. However, whether you’re experiencing it yourself or you want to help someone you love, it can help to better understand the signs and symptoms of depression. This can help us properly understand how to treat the illness, and manage it within our lives.

There is no single definitive depression test; to be properly diagnosed you’ll need to speak to a qualified mental health professional. That said, there are signs we can look out for. So, what are the symptoms of depression?

Download our Functional Tools For Overcoming Depression guide here –

The difference between a “down mood” and depression

First of all, it helps to understand that we all feel depressed at some point in our lives, and some periods can work more as a trigger than others. According to Beyond Blue, about 45% of people in Australia will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, and in any one year, around 1 million Australians will have depression.

That said, there is a significant difference between a “down mood” and serious clinical depression, and it’s important to understand the distinction. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, loss, and heartache. But when this mood continues for more than two weeks at a time and a person is experiencing debilitating symptoms, we classify this as depression. Leaving depression untreated can worsen symptoms. It can cause ongoing stress and pain, and there is a very real risk that it may lead to suicide.

Physical symptoms of depression

The physical signs and symptoms of depression are probably the easiest to recognize. They might include things like:

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and overwhelm
  • Loss of interest in things a person finds enjoyable, including eating, or sex
  • Appetite loss or overeating
  • Feeling tired all the time, sluggish and fatigued
  • Feeling “run down” or sick
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Significant weight loss or gain

 

Behavioural symptoms of depression

Depression can also surface through behavioural symptoms, such as:

  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Failure to complete tasks at school or in the workplace
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Reliance on alcohol or other drugs
  • Not participating in the activities a person once enjoyed
  • Inability to concentrate, make decisions, and remember things
  • Other reckless behavior, such as substance abuse, reckless driving or dangerous sports

Emotional symptoms of depression

The emotional symptoms of depression can be difficult to recognize in others as they may be hidden. They might appear more in an attitude, with thoughts or statements such as “I’m a failure,” “Nothing good happens to me,” or “Life’s not worth it anymore”.

 

The emotional symptoms could surface as:

  • A feeling of overwhelm
  • Guilt
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Feeling depression and sadness
  • Lacking in confidence
  • Feeling sad and unhappy
  • Indecision
  • Disappointment
  • A feeling of doom or impending danger

 

Depression is different for everyone

It’s important to remember that everyone experiences depression differently. The symptoms of depression in women may even be different from those of men and other non-binary people. Think about when you experience grief. Some people bury themselves in work or socialising, whereas others will hideaway. Some people sleep a lot, whereas others don’t sleep at all. In the same way, people experience depression symptoms differently, according to their personality type, background, what they are feeling at the time, and what life stage they are at.

 

The importance of seeking help

The deep despair of depression is so all-consuming that someone experiencing it may feel as if there is no other way to escape their problems other than suicide. Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. Warning signs can be:

  • A preoccupation with death or dying
  • Acting recklessly
  • Getting their affairs in order, for instance, organizing their will, giving away belongings, or visiting friends and family to say goodbye
  • A sudden change from being very depressed to acting calm and content

 

If you or anyone you know has depression, it’s important not to delay treatment. If you suspect someone you know is depressed, watch carefully for any warning signs that a person may be suicidal. There is a range of treatment options available that can help.

Click here to read more about treatment, or download our Functional Tools For Overcoming Depression guide here –

Or, for a free, confidential discussion, click here to speak to one of our helpful staff.

Emanuele Latino

Program Director & Psychologist

Emanuele Latino

Emanuele has a compassionate approach to clients’ struggles, in order to promote awareness and initiate together with the transformative process. His treatment approaches range from Gestalt, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Dialectical and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, EMDR, ACT, Neuropsychotherapy, Sensorymotor Psychotherapy and Cape Cod Model for Couple Therapy.

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