The signs of depression vary largely between patients and can range from mild, unnoticeable sadness to severely disabling symptoms. Not all people experience all the depression symptoms discussed here; the symptoms vary from patient to patient and also differ in severity and duration. Additionally some people have these symptoms persisting for long periods whereas others may have repetitive, sporadic spells lasting for some time.
As a depressive illness progresses the symptoms became more and more prominent. Finally the patients may becomes totally withdrawn and spend most of the time packed in bed. The factual depressive illness has no single apparent cause. It may be activated by certain physical illness (such as hypothyroidism) or by hormonal changes after the birth of a child.
It must be borne in mind that depression not only affects the patient but also burdens his family and friends; it ultimately even affects the patient’s quality of work. Depression can present as a combination of any of the symptoms mentioned here and it significantly affects the normal functioning of the person:
- Sadness, grief that persists.
- Feeling of ’emptiness’ in general.
- Spells of crying (which may be causeless many times).
- Irritability, getting annoyed easily.
- Activities that were once pleasurable are no longer enjoyed or there is lack of interest in the same.
- Low energy level.
- Negative thoughts that are persistent.
- Decreased libido, loss of interest in sex.
- Utter hopelessness.
- Difficulty in focusing or concentrating on work or daily activities.
- Suicidal thoughts; patient may even attempt suicide.
- Feeling of being worthless or of no use.
- Fatigue, lethargy.
- Excessive sleepiness or lack of sleep; early morning wakefulness.
- Changes in appetite – loss or increase in appetite.
- Weight gain or loss that is not intentional.
- Feeling helpless.
- Persistent, unexplained complaints like backache, headache, digestion problems, general cramps, etc. These usually do not respond to conventional treatments.