Depression, a mood disorder that can cause a nagging feeling of sadness and loss of interest in everyday activities. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and in severe cases you may have a feeling of not being able to go on with life.
Depression is often mistaken for emotional weakness however depression is an actual medical condition that can have physical side effects and may not be something you can just simply “snap out” of. Depression may require long-term treatment for some. Most people with depression feel better with medication, counseling or both. Other treatments are also available.
Depression can occur at any time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur at any time of day or night, nearly every day and may include:
- Feeling sad, empty or an overwhelming feeling of unhappiness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration usually over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal everyday activities
- Sleep disturbances, anywhere from insomnia to sleeping too much
- Fatigue and lack of energy, so that even small tasks feel they take extra effort
- Changes in appetite anywhere from reduced appetite and weight loss, to increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness such as, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches, and joint aches
Symptoms of depression vary from case to case. For some the cases are severe and apparent that there is something going on. For others they may just feel off or that something is not quite right and not really know why.
Types of depression
There are several different types of depression diagnoses. Some cases of depression are generalized while others have what is called a specifier that breaks down a more specific type of depression disorder. Different possible specifiers for a depression diagnoses include:
- Anxious distress — Unusual restlessness or worry about possible events or loss of control
- Mixed features — Simultaneous depression and mania, which includes elevated self-esteem, talking too much, and racing thoughts and ideas
- Melancholic features — Severe depression with a profound lack of response to something that used to bring pleasure, associated with early morning awakening, worsened mood in the morning, significant changes in appetite, and feelings of guilt, agitation, sluggishness, or fatigue
- Atypical features — Ability to be cheered by happy events, increased appetite, little need for sleep, sensitivity to rejection, and a heavy feeling in arms or legs
- Psychotic features — Depression accompanied by delusions or hallucinations, which may involve themes of personal inadequacy or negative themes
- Catatonia — Includes motor activity that involves either uncontrollable and purposeless movement or fixed and inflexible posture
- Peripartum onset — Occurs during pregnancy or in the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum)
- Seasonal pattern — Related to changes in seasons and diminished exposure to sunlight
Depression symptoms in children and teens
Common symptoms of depression in children and teens are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.
- In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.
- In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoiding social interaction.
- Depression may occur with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Depression symptoms in older adults
Depression is not a normal part of life and it should never be ignored. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, including:
- Memory difficulties or personality changes
- Quick to become angry or agitated
- Fatigue, body aches, loss of appetite, sleep problems, loss of interest in sex, which are not caused by a medical condition or medication
- Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or try new things
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings
For those who have questions or perhaps wish to make a scheduled appointment, please contact us at 928-733-6291.