Early symptoms of major depression can appear at anytime and at any age. Unfortunately most of you do not take these early symptoms seriously why? Because, you are either not aware how these symptoms present or you deny the presence of such symptoms as a defense mechanism.
Some of you might never go to the doctor because of the fear that the doctor might diagnose something! I have talked to several people about this issue.
I have talked to my family members, my colleagues, my subordinates and my patients.
Most often than not I receive the same answer, “No, there is nothing wrong with me, it is just that I am …..” and an explanation attributing it to something else, which has certainly never satisfied me.
The pattern of appearance of early depressive symptoms may be variable. Some symptoms may appear early in some individuals and other symptoms in others. When my mother started having early symptoms of depression I warned her, but as is the case with most of us, she did not listen. She kept on saying that I am fine and at the same time complained of lack of energy, fatigue and difficulty in performing work. She did all the work herself but only she knew how she was coping with it.
Sleep disturbances are common in depression but you may have aches and pains in the body, disturbances in digestion and changing bowel habits like constipation or diarrhea. There is no set pattern and it varies from person to person. Some may experience mood changes early others may only have physical symptoms of depression.
The early symptoms of major depression may be very confusing .If thoughts like, “I cannot do any more work now” come into your mind then you should be warned that the early symptoms of major depression might be setting in.
One of my friends came to me with complains of difficulty in coping with his job. When I inquired more about him, I came to know that he also had low mood and headaches for which he was taking painkillers for quite some time now but his condition was not improving. Few days later he requested me to prescribe him some medicines for impaired erection.
I recognized that he was having symptoms of depression and he was unable to detect them. I suggested him to go for the treatment options. In the beginning he was a bit reluctant but then he agreed. Few weeks later he was feeling much better with psychological interventions and some medication.
If you are having low mood following some event in your life (death of a relative, lost your job, failed in exam) which has disturbed you emotionally, it is normal, you are a human being.
We all go through low moods at various times in our lives. But if the duration of low mood is increasing and you are unable to come out of that then it is a matter of concern. Persisting low mood can be an early symptoms of major depression so take it seriously.
If your parents are depressed you may develop symptoms of major depression early
Children of depressed and non depressed parents were followed up for 20 years in a research study. It was concluded that off springs of depressed parents developed symptoms of depression at an early age than the off springs of non depressed parents. If you are in the high risk group you should be more concerned about the issue and take any changes in your mood or routine seriously.
Summing it up
Depression has varied symptoms and any aspect of the symptom complex can appear early. It just differs from person to person. For a full blown major depressive disorder you have to meet the criteria. But some of these symptoms begin to appear early and you need to look out for them.
You may have changes in sleep i.e. sleeping more or less or getting up early in the night. You may feel agitated and irritated most of the time. This is particularly common in teenagers and men. You may start having low mood and lose interest in your life. Things start seem boring to you and you do not enjoy your time as you used to. Learn about the signs symptoms of depression in detail here