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Depression

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Depression

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

~ 2 min read

Depression is not just feeling blue from time to time. Instead, depression is characterized by a long-standing, daily feeling of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and emptiness. A person who experiences depression cannot often see a future for themselves, and feel like the world is closing in around them. The warning signs and symptoms of depression are usually pretty clear to those around the person suffering — the person doesn’t seem at all like their normal self. The changes in the person’s mood are evident to friends and family.

Depression is also experienced as a loss of interest and energy in things the person normally enjoys doing, things like working, going out, or being with family and friends. Most people with depression also experience problems with eating and sleeping — either too much or too little. A depressed person’s memory and ability to concentrate will often be impaired too. The person with depression will often be more irritable or feel restless.

Warning Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time.

Depression Symptom List

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

In order for depression to be diagnosed, the person must experience these symptoms every day, for at least 2 weeks.

Types of Depression

Depressive disorders come in many different types, but each type has its own unique symptoms and treatments.

Major Depression the most common type of a depressive disorder, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime. Mental health professionals use this checklist of specific symptoms to determine whether major depression exists or not. Depression is also rated by your physician or mental health professional in terms of its severity — mild, moderate, or severe. Severe depression is the most serious type.

A less severe type of depression, dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or from feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives.

Another type of depression is experienced as a part of bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness. Not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depressive disorders, bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression). Sometimes the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual.

When in the depressed cycle, an individual can have any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When in the manic cycle, the individual may be overactive, over talkative, and have a great deal of energy. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. For example, the individual in a manic phase may feel elated, full of grand schemes that might range from unwise business decisions to romantic sprees. Mania, left untreated, may sometimes even worsen into a psychotic state.

SOURCE: PsychCentral http://psychcentral.com/lib/types-and-symptoms-of-depression/#symptoms

Teen Depressions Symptoms

By Psych Central Staff

~ 2 min read

The following are some of the most common symptoms of teenage depression. These symptoms don’t directly correspond to symptoms of major depression, but they’re similar. A teenager who meets some of the following will often qualify for a diagnosis of major depression.

  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying – Teens may show their pervasive sadness by wearing black clothes, writing poetry with morbid themes, or having a preoccupation with music that has nihilistic themes. They may cry for no apparent reason.
  • Hopelessness Teens may feel that life is not worth living or worth the effort to even maintain their appearance or hygiene. They may believe that a negative situation will never change and be pessimistic about their future.
  • Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities Teens may become apathetic and drop out of clubs, sports, and other activities they once enjoyed. Not much seems fun anymore to the depressed teen.
  • Persistent boredom; low energy Lack of motivation and lowered energy level is reflected by missed classes or not going to school. A drop in grade averages can be equated with loss of concentration and slowed thinking.
  • Social isolation, poor communication There is a lack of connection with friends and family. Teens may avoid family gatherings and events. Teens who used to spend a lot of time with friends may now spend most of their time alone and without interests. Teens may not share their feelings with others, believing that they are alone in the world and no one is listening to them or even cares about them.
  • Low self esteem and guilt Teens may assume blame for negative events or circumstances. They may feel like a failure and have negative views about their competence and self-worth. They feel as if they are not “good enough.”
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure Believing that they are unworthy, depressed teens become even more depressed with every supposed rejection or perceived lack of success.
  • Increased irritability, anger, or hostility Depressed teens are often irritable, taking out most of their anger on their family. They may attack others by being critical, sarcastic, or abusive. They may feel they must reject their family before their family rejects them.
  • Difficulty with relationships Teens may suddenly have no interest in maintaining friendships. They’ll stop calling and visiting their friends.
  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses, such as headaches and stomachaches Teens may complain about lightheadedness or dizziness, being nauseous, and back pain. Other common complaints include headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, and menstrual problems.
  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in schoolChildren and teens who cause trouble at home or at school may actually be depressed but not know it. Because the child may not always seem sad, parents and teachers may not realize that the behavior problem is a sign of depression.
  • Poor concentration Teens may have trouble concentrating on schoolwork, following a conversation, or even watching television.
  • A major change in eating or sleeping patterns Sleep disturbance may show up as all-night television watching, difficulty in getting up for school, or sleeping during the day. Loss of appetite may become anorexia or bulimia. Eating too much may result in weight gain and obesity.
  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home Running away is usually a cry for help. This may be the first time the parents realize that their child has a problem and needs help.
  • Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior Teens who are depressed may say they want to be dead or may talk about suicide. Depressed children and teens are at increased risk for committing suicide. If a child or teen says, “I want to kill myself,” or “I’m going to commit suicide,” always take the statement seriously and seek evaluation from a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than “putting thoughts in the child’s head,” such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Depressed teens may abuse alcohol or other drugs as a way to feel better.

Self-Injury Teens who have difficulty talking about their feelings may show their emotional tension, physical discomfort, pain and low self-esteem with self-injurious behaviors, such as cutting.

Source: PsychCentral http://psychcentral.com/lib/teen-depression-symptoms/

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