Understanding the signs symptoms of depression is essential. About 50% of the patients suffering from depression are missed by the general practitioner(J Gen Intern Med 2008 Jan;23(1):25-36). You can be one of them.
If you know the signs and symptoms of depression you can easily understand your problem and get treatment at the right time. Delaying treatment will adversely effect your quality of life and the problem will worsen with time.
Depression has several types and the presentation of depression varies according to the type. Here I will describe the signs and symptoms of major depression.
If you are having at least 5 of the following 9 symptoms then you are most likely suffering from major depression. But there is a condition that low mood or depressed mood should be present on most of the days or almost every day for at least 2 consecutive weeks. The symptoms are:
1. Low or depressed mood.
2. Loss of pleasure in life activities.
3. Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions.
4. Feeling of lack of energy
5. Changes in sleep pattern. Decrease or increase in sleeping hours.
6. Changes in weight of your body. Either you have lost or gained weight along with changes in appetite as well.
7. Thoughts of low self esteem or worthlessness coming to the mind.
8. Psychomotor activity changes (slow or agitated movements)
9. Thoughts of death or suicide coming to the mind.
The extent of feeling depressed or low mood varies from person to person. Some may feel very severely sad and low while others may not experience sadness of that severity.For determining the severity of the depression you can take the depression test.
The duration of this phase should be at least for two consecutive weeks to be diagnosed as depression.
Along with low mood the patient may have irritable and anxious behavior. Though these are not specific for depression but if they are present along with other symptoms of depression they are considered significant.