How to find out if you are depressed?
Bad mood, anxiety, pessimism, and lack of interest in life can signal the development of the depressive disorder. According to WHO, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from this disease. We will tell you how to differentiate depression from temporary apathy or sudden sadness and recognize the depressive disorder in its early stage.
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Depression is a psycho-emotional state characterized by low mood, slowed thinking, passivity, and general motor lethargy. It affects both our physiology and psyche. The person becomes indifferent to everything around, whether it is joyful or sad events. It is not always easy to make an immediate diagnosis of depression in general medical practice. Sometimes typical symptoms may be absent at all or masked by less common ones.
The International Classification of Diseases specifically outlines the criteria for depression and divides it into two groups: primary and additional symptoms. The primary ones include:
- depressed mood almost daily and most of the day regardless of the situation;
- loss of interest and ability to experience pleasure (anhedonia);
- decreased energy, productivity, and increased fatigability.
Additional symptoms are listed below:
- decreased concentration;
- sleep disorders;
- appetite disorder (it can be increased or absent);
- loss of libido;
- a gloomy and pessimistic vision of the future;
- decreased self-esteem and self-confidence;
- ideas of guilt and self-abasement;
- suicidal thoughts, intentions, or attempts.
The more symptoms you could detect, the faster you should visit a specialist.
At a mild degree of depression, one symptom can dominate in a clinical picture: increased fatigability, decreased energy, or sleep and appetite disorders. Depression is masked by anxious, painful, and vegetative complaints. A minimal decrease in social functioning is observed.
Moderate depression is characterized by two primary symptoms and three or four additional symptoms. At the same time, difficulties in social and professional functioning are already defined.
All three primary symptoms are sufficiently expressed in major depression. Remember: if suicidal thoughts, and even more so, attempts arise, consultation and treatment by a psychiatrist are necessary!
Depression is not just sadness or a bad mood. People faced with this problem cannot "pull themselves together" and recover. Without the right treatment, symptoms can be observed for months or years, and mild depression develops into major depression. As a result, a person's quality of life is diminished. You should analyze your condition, identify alarming symptoms, and contact a specialist to take the first step toward recovery.
There are two factors among the reasons for depressive disorder:
- biological: hereditary predisposition, somatic diseases, brain lesions, or hormonal malfunctions;
- psychosocial: failures in career or personal life, internal conflicts, financial difficulties, loss of a loved one, etc.
The combination of chronic stress, many negative situations, and health problems often leads to depression. According to statistics, women are more susceptible to the risk of developing depressive disorders than men. There are several reasons for this:
- a greater degree of exposure to stress and increased reaction to it;
- increased level of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme destroying the "hormones of happiness": serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline;
- thyroid dysfunction;
- hormonal changes affecting the female body, such as pregnancy, postpartum period, menopause, or menstrual irregularities.
But statistics can be incorrect because men tend to hide their emotions from others, considering such behavior a sign of weakness. Therefore, it's more difficult to recognize their diseases. As a result, depression is often expressed as anger, irritability, alcohol addiction, and other destructive activities. Depression also affects physical health, and men often suffer from cardiovascular diseases.