A normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments can result in sadness and downswings. Some people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Depression can create a dysphoric mood, lethargy, profound sadness, low self-esteem, and/or anxiety, as well as thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness, and, in a significant number of cases, suicidal ideation. Depression usually includes anhedonia and anergia (lack of pleasure and lack of energy), and may be irritable
Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all, they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.
Signs of Depression
• Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
• Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
• Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
• Reduced sex drive
• Insomnia or excessive sleeping
• Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
• Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
• Irritability or angry outbursts
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
• Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
• Crying spells for no apparent reason
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
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