Depression is a disorder that causes prolonged deep sadness, anxiousness or hopelessness in its victims. Although depression symptoms can be easily confused with normal sad feelings associated with disappointing or traumatic events, clinical depression is an ongoing condition. Different types of depression keep sufferers from functioning normally and usually won’t go away without treatment.
Depression manifests itself in a variety of ways. What is depression, exactly? According to the DSM-IV, a person experiencing at least five of the following depression symptoms at the same time is suffering from the condition:
- You feel miserable and sad.
- You feel exhausted a lot of the time with no energy.
- You feel as if even the smallest tasks are sometimes impossible.
- You seldom enjoy the things that you used to enjoy – you may be off sex or food or may ‘comfort eat’ to excess.
- You feel very anxious sometimes.
- You don’t want to see people or are scared to be left alone. Social activity may feel hard or impossible.
- You find it difficult to think clearly.
- You feel like a failure and/or feel guilty a lot of the time.
- You feel a burden to others.
- You sometimes feel that life isn’t worth living.
- You can see no future. There is a loss of hope. You feel all you’ve ever done is make mistakes and that’s all that you ever will do.
- You feel irritable or angry more than usual.
- You feel you have no confidence.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong, what will go wrong or what is wrong about yourself as a person. You may also feel guilty sometimes about being critical of others (or even thinking critically about them).
- You feel that life is unfair.
- You have difficulty sleeping or wake up very early in the morning and can’t sleep again. You seem to dream all night long and sometimes have disturbing dreams.
- You feel that life has/is ‘passing you by.’
- You may have physical aches and pains which appear to have no physical cause, such as back pain.
If you are experiencing at least five of these symptoms almost every day for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Talk to a friend or family member and seek help from a doctor or therapist to resolve these depression symptoms.