Signs of a depression
Even though a depression can be traced back to a combination of interacting causes and manifest itself in various ways, certain symptoms are characteristic of a depression.
Characteristic signs of a depression may include for example the feeling of having no sensation, to feel joyless, empty, exhausted. Every thing that used to be enjoyable now seems meaningless, and even simple tasks may be perceived as strenuous.
The majority of depressive people go through monopolar forms of depression. Fewer people suffer from bipolar depression, previously known as manic-depressive disorder.
Unipolar or monopolar forms of depression usually manifest itself through the following signs:
Inner emptiness – characterised by complete hopelessness; things that used to be enjoyed are no longer perceived as agreeable. The central feeling is one of sadness, inner emptiness. The word depression is derived from the Latin word “deprimere”, meaning “to press down”.
Loss of energy – depressive people have little energy and determination. Simple decisions and everyday tasks become very challenging to perform, and the concentration capacity is reduced. Activities that used to be simple and easy to perform become too demanding.
Self-doubt – The inner emptiness and loss of energy may cause a significant loss of self-confidence, as well as guilt or inferiority feelings.
Anxiety – In very severe cases, feelings of anxiety or even thoughts about attempting to one’s life can also occur.
Physical symptoms may include massive sleeping disorders, appetite loss, reduced sexual desire, physical restlessness or lethargy. Further symptoms may also involve headaches, dizziness, back or stomach pains. In most cases, the physician cannot trace back such symptoms to some organ-related causes.
The bipolar form of depression is also known as manic-depressive disorder. It is characterised by a more or less rapid transition between very different phases. During the depression phase, the patient suffers from symptoms that are typical of the monopolar depression, such as a lack of motivation. The so-called manic phases manifest themselves inversely.
Frequent symptoms include euphoria, as well as disproportionate feelings of joy and energy, but also increased irritability and even aggressiveness.
Manic patients overestimate their performance capacity, speak very rapidly and manifest an unstoppable need to talk. They often lose control over money or agreement issues, and do not want to admit negative consequences. They may also be prone to hallucinations or sensory illusions.
For most patients, the passage from a depressive phase to a manic phase occurs insidiously. It can sometimes take place overnight. The transition between the phases can be very challenging, both for the patient as for the people around him. An early diagnostic is therefore all the more important – help is almost always available.
Depressions are often not treated
Experts estimate that about 60% of all depressions are not treated. There may be many reasons for this. As the symptoms may vary greatly from one person to the other, it is not always easy for the physician to diagnose a depression. Often, the disorder may be hiding behind plain physical complaints. Only the physical symptoms will be treated, while the mental symptoms remain unhandled.
For many people, talking about mental problem with a physician may be quite difficult. However, a depression is an illness like any other – it can touch any one us. We all deserve to be helped.
Text: Helga Grafe – 08/2015
Translation: MyH – 08/2015