It’s okay to tell someone you’re depressed. In fact, talking about depression is the start of getting help, of being seen. But the person you choose to tell must be okay with hearing about depression. Depression can be very dark, and not everyone wants to hear the darker details. The person should be non-judgemental, […]
Depression symptoms can easily be missed, mislabeled, or dismissed. It’s important to know what are depression symptoms so you can tease away other issues that may be masked by depression. Cancer, for instance, will send a person into depression. Old age contains triggers for depression. Grief’s impact can have a person spiralling into depression.
Depression symptoms of the DSM-V
According to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) you need to be able to check off certain things before you are diagnosed with depression. In order to be diagnosed as depressed, you must show five to nine symptoms during a two-week period. These symptoms must cause you significant distress or obvious changes to your ability to function.
The symptoms of depression are:
- Depressed mood (sad, anxious, empty) most of the day, nearly every day (this may manifest as irritable mood in children)
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
- Appetite changes with significant weight loss or gain
- Sleeping too much or insomnia
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, excessive or inappropriate guilt, or helplessness
- Difficulty concentrating or being indecisive
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
At least one symptom needs to be:
- A depressed mood
- A loss of interest or pleasure in something you previously enjoyed
Symptoms can also include persistent headaches, cramps, digestive problems.
“Depression is a cruel disease that can affect anyone. It is very easy, once the symptoms begin, for a person to slide down the black hole of depression where the symptoms spiral and feed off of each other, increasing in severity.” ~ Michelle London, PsyD, Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago
How depression feels
Depression is described many ways. It can feel like living in a black hole, falling into a deep endless pit, or being torn at by black dogs. There is usually a feeling of unease, of some impending doom. You don’t know how to deal with these feelings, and your energy and mood become darker.
There’s a difference between men and women when it comes to depression. Men are more likely to feel angry and restless. Men will take risks or act recklessly, like gambling, drinking too much, abusing drugs, alcohol or food, having unsafe sex, or driving too fast. A man will not open up and talk about his feelings. More likely, he will mention feeling tired, or how his body aches and hurts. If a man does admit he feels sad, you should let him talk and not scare him away by asking if he wants to visit a doctor.
To find out if you are depressed and not sad, you need to be evaluated by a mental health professional. You may need to take a physical exam to make sure there’s no underlying disease that’s causing you to be depressed. Family history is also important as is your history of medications. If you suspect you are depressed, please get help. There’s no shame in being depressed.
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