Since I focused on anxiety and stress-related symptoms the last couple blogs I will try to distinguish depression symptoms. The two often coexist, as those with mood disorders often have features of anxiety and depression, though most people complain more about anxiety. For example, ” I’m not really too depressed. I’m more stressed out”. Depression is not just having a bad day here and there, but rather a persistence of symptoms that causes a disruption in one’s life and decreases quality of life. A common description is ” I’m just not feeling myself” Typical symptoms are:
- Recurent sadness, frequent crying
- Irritability, “Bad mood”
- Decreased interest in activities that were previously enjoyed(Anhedonia), Withdrawal and isolation
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness-
- Fatigue, Lack of motivation
- Insomnia, usually difficulty getting to sleep, early morning awakening with difficulty getting back to sleep or both.
- Decreased ability to focus and concentrate.
- Recurrent worry/ Rumination/ Obsessive thinking.
- Frequent thoughts of death and dying, suicidal thinking, or “If I don’t wake up tomorrow I’m fine with that”
- Negative thinking.
- Change of appetite, either lack of one with weight loss or increased weight from incresed appetite ( typically “comfort foods” such as carbs and sugars).
- Increased alcohol consumption or illicit drug use.
- Recurrent somatic symptoms such as pain and other physical symptoms
One can have only a few or several of these symptoms, and depression can vary from mild to moderate to severe. Seek help if anxiety and/or depression symptoms plague you. I’m here to help if you need me. Next time I will discuss myths and misconceptions about medications. I will be discussing solutions for these common problems the rest of the fall and winter. Bye for now.