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How do you know someone is depressed: What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families

Signs and symptoms of depression

Signs and symptoms of depression – Beyond Blue

On this page

  • How does depression feel?
  • Behaviour
  • Feelings
  • Thoughts
  • Physical symptoms
  • Do I have depression?
  • Supporting someone else

How does depression feel?

If any of these examples feel familiar, or if you just don’t feel okay, it’s worth talking to someone. Depression is treatable with the right support.

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with depression the signs and symptoms listed on this page may be part of the condition. 

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Depression can look like:

  • not going out anymore
  • not getting things done at work or school
  • withdrawing from close family and friends
  • relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • unable to concentrate

I was not motivated to do anything… Being out of the house would make me feel confused and my heart would race.

Read Sandi’s experience of post-natal depression


Depression can make you feel:

  • overwhelmed or indecisive
  • guilty
  • irritable or frustrated
  • lacking in confidence
  • unhappy or disappointed
  • miserable or sad

I had all the symptoms. I was getting angry and disassociated from my work. I didn’t want to do the work, I was desperate for a rest.

Read Geoff’s experience of work stress and depression


When you have depression you might think:

  • ‘I’m a failure.’
  • ‘It’s my fault.’
  • ‘Nothing good ever happens to me.’
  • ‘I’m worthless.’
  • ‘Life’s not worth living.’
  • ‘People would be better off without me.’

Suicidal thoughts

Sometimes people who are experiencing depression may also experience suicidal thoughts. To learn more visit Suicidal warning signs.

[I thought that] If I failed, it’s because I was useless and had nothing to offer.

Read Jake’s story of anxiety, depression and therapy

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of depression can include:

  • feeling tired all the time
  • feeling sick and run down
  • headaches and muscle pains
  • stomach pain, butterflies or churning gut
  • sleep problems
  • loss or change of appetite
  • significant weight loss or gain

My depression made me want to sleep all the time.

Read Emily’s story of depression, anxiety and ultimately, hope

Do I have depression?

It can be hard to know whether you’re feeling depressed or have depression.

Our anonymous mental health check-in can help you understand whether your symptoms are likely to go away on their own, or whether it’s time to get more support to help you feel better.

It’s an evidence-based tool which asks you 10 questions about the feelings you’ve been having over the past 4 weeks. It’s sometimes called the “K10” and is widely used by GPs and mental health professionals.

Mental health check-in

Finding mental health support

Your GP can be a good place to start the conversation about your mental health.

We can also help you find other support that’s right for you. This could include talking to our counsellors or helping you find a mental health professional near you.

Get mental health support

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Connect with our online peer support community

Anonymously read, share and learn from people who are also living with anxiety.  

The Beyond Blue Forums is a welcoming peer support community.

Visit the Beyond Blue Forum depression discussions 

Supporting someone else

If you’re worried about someone close to you, there are things you can do to support them.

  • Talking to someone you’re worried about
  • Support someone with anxiety or depression

Related information

  • Types of depression
  • Treatments for depression
  • Causes of depression
  • Anxiety: signs, symptoms and treatment
  • Suicide prevention

How to spot them and what to do

Some people with depression may try to hide the signs from others, and others might not even realize that they have depression. Although well-known symptoms such as sadness or hopelessness can be easy to recognize, other signs of depression may be less obvious.

Although some depression symptoms are obvious, there are many hidden signs of depression. However, it is important to note that other medical issues can also cause some of the same symptoms.

This article discusses some of the less obvious symptoms of depression. It also covers common causes of depression and what a person should do if they or a loved one experiences the following symptoms.

Eating too much or too little can indicate depression. Some people turn to food for comfort, while others lose their appetite or eat less due to low mood.

These changes in food intake can cause a person to gain or lose weight. They can also affect mood and energy levels.

There may also be physiological factors at play. For example, there is a link between excess body fat and increased inflammation in the body. This, in turn, may play a role in the development or severity of depression symptoms.

There is a strong connection between mood and sleep. A lack of sleep can contribute to depression, and depression can make it more difficult to sleep.

Research suggests that chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to depression. This may be due to neurochemical changes in the brain.

However, sleeping more than usual can also be a sign that a person may have depression.

Some people with mood disorders may use alcohol or drugs to help them cope with negative emotions, such as sadness, loneliness, or hopelessness.

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that in the United States, about 1 in 5 people with anxiety or a mood disorder such as depression also have an alcohol or substance use disorder. Conversely, the same proportion of those with an alcohol or substance use disorder also has a mood disorder.

Negative self-talk is an inner dialogue that is damaging and self-critical. Many people with depression experience negative self-talk and default to harmful, critical thoughts toward themselves.

Although there is limited research on the long-term effects of negative self-talk, research has found that it has harmful effects on well-being and cognitive function.

Feeling excessively tired is a very common symptom of depression. Some research suggests that more than 90% of people with depression experience fatigue.

Although everyone feels tired from time to time, people who have severe or persistent tiredness — especially if it accompanies other symptoms — may have hidden depression.

Sometimes, people refer to hidden depression as “smiling depression.” The reason for this is that people who hide their symptoms may ensure that their face appears happy while in the company of others.

However, it can be difficult to keep up this forced happiness and positivity. Over time, the mask may slip, and a person may show signs of sadness, hopelessness, or loneliness.

There is a theory that people with depression may display a trait called “depressive realism. ” This means that they may be more accurate in their view of events and the control they have over those events than people without depression.

Being more realistic or pessimistic than others may be one sign of depression, especially if the person has other possible symptoms of depression.

When a person trails off during conversations or loses their train of thought, this can indicate issues with memory and concentration. Such issues are a common symptom of depression.

An older 2014 study suggests that these difficulties with concentration and focus can worsen the social impact of depression by making work life and personal relationships more challenging.

Additionally, a 2018 narrative review notes that cognitive dysfunction is a key aspect of major depressive disorder (MDD). This can significantly affect a person’s social life, return to work, and workplace productivity.

The National Institute of Mental Health lists a “loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities” as one of the telltale symptoms of depression. Disinterest in activities that a person used to enjoy can be one of the first signs that other people notice when their loved one has depression.

Depression is a mental health condition, but it can also have physical consequences. In addition to weight changes and fatigue, other physical symptoms of hidden depression to look out for include:

  • backache
  • chronic pain conditions
  • digestive problems
  • headache

Some people with hidden depression experience personality changes. They may become more quiet and withdrawn, or they may be angry and irritable.

Many people do not associate anger and irritability with depression, but these mood changes are not unusual among those with the condition. Instead of appearing sad, some people with hidden depression may display irritability and overt or suppressed anger.

Some healthcare professionals consider changes in sex drive a key indicator when diagnosing episodes of depressive symptoms. In a 2018 study, more severe depression was associated with more severe sexual dysfunction. This dysfunction included trouble with sexual function, desire, and satisfaction.

There are several reasons why a person’s libido might decrease when they have depression. These include:

  • loss of interest in pleasurable activities, such as sex
  • fatigue and low energy levels
  • low self-esteem

Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:

  • Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a person’s risk of developing it themselves.
  • Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many people experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
  • Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
  • Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
  • Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.

People who believe that they may have hidden depression should contact a doctor or mental health professional. These professionals can help make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.

Other steps to manage depression might include:

  • reducing stress, such as through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga
  • improving self-esteem through positive self-affirmations
  • socializing with others, although this can be challenging with depression
  • engaging in activities that the person used to enjoy
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a balanced diet
  • asking family or friends for support
  • joining a support group

If a loved one appears to have signs of hidden depression, a person can try to talk with them about their symptoms and offer nonjudgmental support and advice.

Supportive actions include:

  • encouraging the person to seek treatment
  • offering to accompany them to appointments
  • planning enjoyable activities together
  • exercising together
  • encouraging them to socialize with others

People looking after someone with depression also need to practice good self-care to preserve their own mental well-being.

People with symptoms of depression should consider seeking help from a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or psychotherapist. They may also wish to get support from loved ones.

Other sources of help for people with mental health conditions and mood disorders include the ADAA’s website and Mental Health America’s list of support groups.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Was this helpful?

Not everyone with depression will display the typical symptoms of sadness and despair. Sometimes, the only signs that a person may show are physical, such as fatigue, insomnia, or weight changes.

Other signs of hidden depression can include using alcohol or drugs, being irritable or angry, and losing interest in pleasurable activities such as sex and hobbies.

People concerned that a loved one has hidden depression should try talking with them about their symptoms and offering nonjudgmental support and advice. Individuals who suspect that they have depression should consider discussing it with a doctor or mental health professional.

Read the article in Spanish.

what is it and how to understand that you have it

What to do?

Evgeny Kulakov

asked in the Community T⁠—⁠F

Author Profile

Please explain in simple terms what depression is. For example, how long can it last? How can I tell if I or someone close to me has depression?

Is it possible to cope with depression without the help of a specialist? Can depression go away on its own?

Is there any official data for the world and Russia, how many people are in a state of depression? How many have been there?

Is there a dependence of depression on gender, age, nationality, faith, sexual orientation and place of residence, or are they not connected in any way?

If there is an addiction, then who is more susceptible to depression: men or women, children or adults, Russians or Americans, Christians or Muslims, heterosexuals or homosexuals, Muscovites or Omsk residents, city dwellers or villagers?

Yana Shagova


Author profile

Depression is a mental disorder. Its main manifestations are as follows: decreased mood, inability to enjoy life, severe apathy, pessimism, lack of strength. And the most disturbing symptom is suicidal thoughts.

It is often difficult for a depressed person to maintain full-fledged relationships even with those closest to him, to do household chores, to take care of himself. And also – to study and work productively, since depression often negatively affects cognitive abilities and brain function in general.

According to the currently main hypothesis of the occurrence of depression – the monoamine theory – during this disease, malfunctions in the work of neurotransmitters occur. These are substances with the help of which brain cells exchange information with each other, in particular monoamines: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Understanding Depression – American Psychiatric Association

Depression is also known to affect some parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and emotional regulation, the prefrontal cortex, which processes information from the hippocampus, and the amygdala, which plays a role in the formation of fear and other emotions.

See a doctor

Our articles are written with love for evidence-based medicine. We refer to authoritative sources and go to doctors with a good reputation for comments. But remember: the responsibility for your health lies with you and your doctor. We don’t write prescriptions, we give recommendations. Relying on our point of view or not is up to you.

What causes depression

Predisposition to depression is determined by various factors. One of the most important is genetics. People whose immediate family members have had the disorder may be more likely to develop it.

Genetic Causes of Major Depressive Disorder – Psychological Medicine

Other significant risk factors are psychological and social.

Psychological factors include, for example, the conditions in which a person grows up and how others treat him during this period. If a child receives a lot of love and support, they are less likely to suffer from depression as an adult. Conversely, those who are often abused and humiliated in childhood have a higher risk of developing this disease.

Social factors that can trigger depression are, for example, low income and the city and region where the person lives. I will tell you more about this below.

How to get rid of the idea that there is not enough money?

Another common cause is somatic diseases: hormonal failure or an acute deficiency of some substances. In addition, depression can be provoked by severe stress caused, for example, by the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job.

How long depression can last

According to a study by Dutch doctors, in 50% of cases, a depressive episode lasted three months. At the same time, more than 20% of the symptoms of the disease did not go away even after two years.

Duration of episodes of major depressive disorder in the Dutch population – British Journal of Psychiatry

Duration of illness depends on the severity and severity of symptoms, individual characteristics and other factors. In addition, some people experience relapses: there is evidence that in 50% of cases depression returns and needs to be treated again.

How to tell if you have depression

You can tell if a person has depression by looking at their characteristic signs. The main one is a long-term decrease in mood. It can appear with different intensity. Someone due to depression feels a slight melancholy. Someone – an acute unwillingness to live.

In addition, you should be wary if you lost interest in your favorite activities for a long time – more than a month ago – and nothing brings you joy. For example, you absolutely do not want to go for a walk, play sports, see friends and relatives. Or if the feeling of boredom and routine does not leave. Or you are tormented by thoughts about your own uselessness and that you don’t know how and why to live. And the future seems exceptionally gloomy, full of troubles and troubles.

Another important symptom is a constant feeling of physical weakness. Especially if it makes it difficult to force yourself to get out of bed, get dressed, take a shower and brush your teeth. And I want only one thing – to lie down, looking at one point.

Sleep and eating disorders can also signal depression. For example, insomnia or unusually long – 10-12 hours – sleep. And also a lack of appetite or, conversely, a strong craving for sweet and fatty foods, which provokes frequent overeating.

How to deal with insomnia

Depressed people often suffer from memory and concentration problems, as well as the ability to process information and make decisions. If you notice that you often cannot choose products in the store, you begin to be late everywhere, forget about things, do your work more slowly, there is a reason to consult a doctor. Especially if all of the above is accompanied by a bad mood and gloomy thoughts.

Complete list of signs of depression

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a diagnosis of depression can be made if a person has five or more of the following signs of depression within two weeks:

  1. Low mood or constant irritability.
  2. Significant reduction in pleasure or interest in all or almost all activities.
  3. Decrease or, conversely, increase in weight and appetite.
  4. Insomnia or too much sleep.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or inhibition.
  6. Decreased energy and increased fatigue.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem or inadequate guilt.
  8. Inhibited thinking or decreased attention.
  9. Suicidal thoughts.

Online self-diagnosis questionnaires for depression, such as the well-known Beck test, are not worth using: they are very inaccurate.

Is it possible to cope with depression on your own

Theoretically, you can cope with depression on your own. But in extremely rare cases – with its mild and short form. The problem is that a person is usually unable to assess the severity and severity of their symptoms and establish the cause of their occurrence.

Therefore, if you suspect a mental disorder, it is better to contact a specialist. It is not so important who it will be at the initial stage: a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist. You will be helped to understand how to proceed further and whether treatment is necessary.

How to cope with postpartum depression

Depression is treated with special medicines. Often – in combination with psychotherapy. It has been proven that a combination of approaches gives the best effect. Other methods – mindfulness practices, yoga, physical activity – are useful and effective, but are of an auxiliary nature.

According to the rules in force in Russia, only psychiatrists and psychotherapists can decide on the appointment of drug therapy, select drugs, their dosage and adjust it in the course of treatment. Psychologists without a medical education are not entitled to do this.

A very small number of cases can be dispensed with without medication: when depression is mild, short-lived, and its symptoms are not pronounced. But again, the decision about this should be made by the doctor. I note that the side effects of modern drugs are much less inconvenient than the symptoms of depression, and they pass quite quickly. Therefore, you should not resist taking medication with all your might.

Treatment of depressive disorders with and without medication – Pharmacopsychiatry

Another important point. Sometimes depression is not an independent disease, but is part of other mental disorders. For example, bipolar affective or schizoaffective. They are treated differently than depression. Therefore, it is very important to make an accurate diagnosis at the very beginning: incorrectly prescribed therapy can aggravate the symptoms of the disease.

How many people suffer from depression

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5% of the world’s inhabitants suffer from depression. The top five countries in terms of the prevalence of depression are Ukraine, the USA, Estonia, Australia and Brazil. In them, this disease affects 5. 7-6.3% of the population.

Russia is in eleventh place. According to WHO, more than 8 million – 5.5% – of the country’s inhabitants have depression.

Most likely, these estimates are lower than the real numbers. Especially in less developed countries, where medicine is not so well prepared to diagnose and treat mental disorders. In addition, even in developed countries, depression is often not detected. Source: World Population Review, WHO data Most likely, these estimates are lower than the real numbers. Especially in less developed countries, where medicine is not so well prepared to diagnose and treat mental disorders. In addition, even in developed countries, depression is often not detected. Source: World Population Review, WHO data

What affects predisposition to depression

Place of residence. It is believed that residents of large cities are more likely to suffer from mental disorders, including depression. They are constantly exposed to stress due to noise pollution and strong lighting, crowded population, lack of full communication with loved ones and high pace of life.

Urbanization and Mental Disorders – Industrial Psychiatry Journal

But it cannot be argued that life in the countryside is better for the psyche: there is no data on this. In addition, the state of the psyche determines not only the place of residence, but also other factors. It is impossible to separate them from each other.

If a person lives in a small town and does not experience financial difficulties, communicates enough with relatives, plays sports, then we can assume that he is more likely to be mentally healthy than a conventional city dweller.

Nationality. There is no relationship between nationality and predisposition to depression. On the other hand, the unfavorable socio-economic situation in the country of residence – poverty or political instability – seriously affects the development of any mental disorders.

Sexuality is also not directly related to depression. But the so-called minority stress that LGBT people experience in modern society makes them more vulnerable to mental disorders.

How is sex different from gender?

Gender and age. But gender may be a risk factor: women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression. This is explained not only by physiology, but also by the peculiarities of the social status: women are more often subjected to violence and earn less. They have to balance work, childcare and domestic work, and their career options are limited.

Why depression is more common among women – Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience

In addition, there is a hypothesis that men are simply less likely to seek medical and psychological help. Therefore, they are less likely to be diagnosed with depression.

By the way, depression is not as common in children of both sexes as it is in adults. It affects 3.2% of the general child population. And most often, depression is diagnosed in adults 18-25 years old.

Religion. A significant link between depression and religious beliefs has not yet been found: the results of studies on this subject are contradictory. On the one hand, there is evidence that believers and atheists experience fewer symptoms of depression than those who occupy an intermediate position in relation to religion.

On the other hand, a large study by scientists from Latin America showed that religious women over 65 years of age have an increased tendency to depression. But the reasons for this are unclear. The issue still needs to be studied.

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What is the result

Depression is a mental disorder that, according to statistics, affects 5% of people in the world. It may not go away for years. The predisposition to depression is genetic. But a dysfunctional childhood, severe stress in adulthood, and some somatic disorders increase the likelihood of its occurrence.

The main symptoms of depression are a decrease in mood, lethargy, apathy, loss of interest in life, work and favorite activities, constant fatigue, sleep and appetite disorders.

Most often, depression is diagnosed in women and young people of any gender 18-25 years old. Children suffer from depression almost 1.5 times less often than adults.

Place of residence, nationality, sexual orientation do not directly affect the development of depression. But the stress associated with these factors – such as that regularly experienced by LGBT people – increases the risk of not only depression, but also other mental disorders.

How much does it cost to treat bipolar affective disorder

Whether depression and religiosity are somehow related, scientists do not know.

Treat depression with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. There are also aids: mindfulness practices, yoga, physical activity.

What to do? Readers ask – experts answer

Depression: what it is, signs, symptoms and how to deal with it

Fortunately, the diagnosis of depression is much less common than we use the word (but more often than our grandmothers think). Clinical psychologist Aliya Sabirzyanova tells about the signs, symptoms and causes of depression, as well as how to get rid of a depressive state and why you should not try to get out of it on your own. women and children

Depression is a mental disorder in which a person has a pathologically low mood, a persistent sense of guilt, loss of the opportunity to enjoy, a pessimistic assessment of himself and his future. It is not for nothing that depression is sometimes called the “disease of the 21st century”: today it is considered one of the most common disorders. According to the World Health Organization, about 280 million people worldwide suffer from diagnosed depression, that is, about 5% of the adult population of the planet. For several years now, experts have noted a trend towards an increase in the number of such diagnoses, and, according to forecasts, their prevalence will only grow.

In modern psychiatry, there are a large number of different classifications of depression, and first of all, this is necessary in order to more accurately determine the cause of the condition and more accurately choose a treatment algorithm. In general, two main types can be distinguished.

Women are diagnosed with depression more often than men: in men, the risk of falling ill is 7-12%, in women – 20-25%

Endogenous depressions occur against the background of impaired neurotransmitter metabolism, most often against the background of complete social well-being. There may be mood swings during the day with improvement in the evening. The predominance of feelings such as guilt and anxiety is clearly noticeable. The perception of the future is often pessimistic and hopeless.

Psychogenic depression occurs under the influence of traumatic situations. During the day, mood swings are practically not observed: it is consistently bad. You may notice sleep disturbances: difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night. Feelings such as resentment, irritability, constant search for the guilty in their condition prevail. The perception of the future is always based on the hope of improvement.

Women are diagnosed with depression more often than men: in men, the risk of getting sick is 7-12%, in women – 20-25%. Scientists still cannot find a single reason for this variation. Most likely, this may be due to the fact that women seek help more often, as well as the greater influence of the stress factor and greater biological vulnerability, especially often occurring in the postpartum period.

Postpartum depression occurs in 10-13% of women who have recently given birth. Most often, it begins to appear 30-35 days after birth and can last up to 1.5-2 years. Talking about postpartum depression is very important, because in most cases in the initial period it remains unrecognized. Society still condemns and does not recognize postpartum depression or classifies it as a whim of a young mother, which contributes to the progression of the disorder and makes diagnosis difficult.

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We can also note other differences in the structure of depression in men and women. For women, loss of appetite, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, lack of strength, constant anxiety and guilt are more characteristic. Men are more likely to have a decrease in motivation, panic attacks, abuse of alcohol and other psychoactive substances.

In children, the occurrence and increase in depressive symptoms varies with age. So, in children 6-8 years old, sadness, crying, helplessness, hopelessness, immersion in their experiences are more often observed; 8-12-year-olds begin to change self-esteem, there is an expectation of failures and misfortunes. Adolescents develop feelings of guilt, self-flagellation, passive and active thoughts of self-harm.

Why depression occurs and how it affects the brain

There can be many causes of depression, but it is important to note the main ones, which traditionally include biological, psychological and social. Speaking about biological causes, one can rely on the monoamine concept, according to which depression is caused by a deficiency of serotonin mediation.

The most well-known function of serotonin is related to the control of negative emotions. In our brain, there is a delicate work to maintain a balance between the centers of positive and negative emotions. Consequently, with a decrease in the level of serotonin, it already ceases to suppress those centers that are associated with resentment, sadness, disappointment, and the person begins to feel them very actively. Other biological causes can also provoke depression, namely hormonal changes (during pregnancy, the postpartum period, hypo- or hyperthyroidism or menopause) and asthenia (as a result of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19).).

Mild depression can be difficult to distinguish from sadness and melancholy, easily confused with blues or apathy

Depression can also have social causes. Violence in the family, constant comparison with others, the cult of success, growing up in a culture of perfectionism – all this leads to a high stress load, which can lead to the development of a depressive disorder.

Psychological reasons are largely considered the way of thinking of a person, his habits, stereotypes of behavior, which initially transmit a negative view of himself, the future, the world, which is always cruel and unfair. The trigger for the development of depression in this case is usually severe stress or a traumatic experience (loss of a job, death of a loved one, divorce or separation from a partner).

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Depending on the severity, three degrees of depression are traditionally distinguished. Light can be difficult to distinguish from sadness and melancholy, easily confused with blues or apathy. The set of symptoms and their severity do not yet allow a clear diagnosis of depressive disorders, but with a high degree of probability a person may experience depression in the future. This condition is also called subdepressive or subsyndromal (minor) depression.

A moderate degree is characterized by a distinct clinical picture, but a person is able to fully (or almost fully) function in society. And only the severe form is associated with pronounced symptoms, up to loss of functionality, delusions or hallucinations.

Symptoms and signs of depression

Depression can be successfully masked and at first appear only as physiological symptoms: drowsiness, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain (the cause of which cannot be determined by a cardiologist). All this should already be a reason to pay attention to your mental health. However, there are also characteristic symptoms that make it possible to determine that a person has depression. If you notice symptoms within two weeks, please see your doctor. Symptoms of depression include:

  • depressed mood, the main emotions are sadness, melancholy, anxiety, sadness, irritability;
  • loss of the opportunity to enjoy even what used to interest or bring joy;
  • frequent feeling of guilt, which tends to increase constantly;
  • loss of self-confidence, the appearance against this background of thoughts about one’s own worthlessness, uselessness and uselessness;
  • constant fatigue, feeling that there is no strength even for the simplest and easiest things;
  • sharp fluctuations in weight and appetite, it can either decrease or increase;
  • sleep disturbances, difficulty falling asleep, insomnia, interrupted sleep or, conversely, increased drowsiness;
  • recurrent suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts.

One of the most common psychodiagnostic methods for diagnosing and self-diagnosing depression is the Aaron Beck Depression Scale. However, it is worth knowing that depression as a disorder cannot be diagnosed by the results of only one test, so entrust the interpretation of the data to a specialist. Based on your history, symptoms, general condition and diagnostic results, he will accurately determine the disease.

Photo by Getty Images

You need to understand that only a psychiatrist can diagnose depression. Self-medication is very dangerous, so the first thing that is important and should be done when you find similar symptoms in yourself is to seek professional help. The treatment of depression always stands on two pillars – drug therapy, which is individually selected by the doctor, and psychotherapy, which will teach you how to cope with various conditions and the factors that cause them.

In addition to medical care, you can start taking care of yourself: get enough sleep, eat healthy food, feel free to ask for support from loved ones, increase physical activity (at least 30 minutes of walking a day), stop drinking alcohol or other psychoactive substances.

What to do if a loved one is depressed

The first and most important thing is to take care of yourself. In order to support a loved one, you must have a sufficient amount of internal resource. Track your condition, do not take full responsibility, relax. Seek psychological help if necessary.

It is very important not to devalue the condition of a loved one and not to give him harsh advice. The phrases “Don’t be sad!”, “Pull yourself together!”, “What a depression, wash the floors better / find yourself a husband / give birth to a child – and everything will pass” will deeply hurt a person, and perhaps he will no longer want to share his thoughts with you.