DEPRESSION is a common experience.
We have all felt “depressed” about a friend’s cold shoulder, misunderstandings in our marriage or relationships, tussles with teenage children – sometimes we feel “down” for no reason at all.
However, depression can become an illness when:
- The mood state is severe
- It lasts for 2 weeks or more, and
- It interferes with our ability to function at home or at work.
Signs of a depressed mood include:
- Lowered self-esteem (or self-worth)
- Change in sleep patterns, that is, insomnia or broken sleep
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Less ability to control emotions such as pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety
- Varying emotions throughout the day, for example, feeling worse in the morning and better as the day progresses
- Reduced capacity to experience pleasure: you can’t enjoy what’s happening now nor look forward to anything with pleasure. Hobbies and interests drop off.
- Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches and pains and may have a host of new ailments
- Changed sex drive: absent or reduced
- Poor concentration and memory: some people are so impaired that they think that they are going demented
- Reduced motivation: it doesn’t seem worth the effort to do anything, things seem meaningless.
Having one or other of these symptoms by themselves doesn’t necessarily meant that someone is clinically depressed.
However, there could be other causes which may warrant getting checked out by your doctor.
For more information and resources about depression and bipolar disorder, visit Black Dog
This article was first published in The Land's 2013 Glove Box Guide to Mental Health. To read more from the guide, click here.