4 Common Symptoms of Depression
Other symptoms of depression include reckless behavior, an unchanging low mood, feelings of tearfulness and difficulty making decisions. If you think you or someone you love may be depressed, consult a qualified doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment options. The incidence of suicide is particularly high in depressed individuals, so seeking counseling and psychiatric help is extremely important.
Feelings of Hopelessness
A bleak outlook that goes beyond simply being sad or having the blues is one of the hallmark symptoms of clinical depression. You may feel as if you have no way out and may lose hope that your situation can improve. It feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Feelings of helplessness and the inability to change or improve the situation often accompany this cognitive symptom.
Loss of Interest
Depression can cause you to lose your ability to feel pleasure or joy. You may no longer enjoy social gatherings, hobbies or pastimes you once loved, and sex may bring little pleasure. You may feel as if these activities have become a burden, and you don't understand why. For this reason, you may avoid leaving home to do anything or see anyone. Depression may also lead you to pursue coping activities such as gambling or excessive drinking.
Depression often leads to insomnia, particularly during the early morning hours. You may wake up in the middle of the night with worry and feelings of hopelessness, and getting a good night's sleep becomes difficult. You might oversleep, but you still do not feel rested. Additional physical symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, loss of energy, appetite changes, unexplained aches and weight changes may accompany this symptom.
Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt
Depression might lead you to feel a sense of guilt for being unable to overcome your feelings or become happier, leading to feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness. This may lead to a cycle of negative thinking as you tell yourself that you are doing everything wrong, you are unable to succeed and you are at fault for mistakes in your own life. This often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, further deepening the feelings of worthlessness.
Symptoms of depression are similar to those of grief and life's normal low periods, but depression can lead to sadness and other symptoms in severity or for extended periods of time. Untreated cases of depression can continue for months or years, often worsening over time and potentially leading to suicidal thoughts. Although the incidence and severity of symptoms vary widely from person to person, these are some of the most common characteristics of the mental illness.