How do you recognize depression? The following three main symptoms are typical of the disease:
- Depressed Mood : Those affected suffer greatly from a deep depression. The depressed mood is almost continuous, severe, and lasts for at least two weeks.
- Inner emptiness and loss of interests : It is also characteristic that those affected feel neither joy nor other feelings. Inside they feel empty and dead of feeling. Interest in social contacts, work and hobbies disappears. Attempts at encouragement by fellow human beings have no effect. Positive experiences do not improve mood.
- Restlessness and tiredness : Depressed people have difficulty or are unable to cope with everyday tasks. You feel constantly mentally and physically exhausted. Even getting up in the morning becomes difficult, so that some do not even get out of bed because of their depression. Fatigue becomes the norm.
The following secondary symptoms are also typical of depression:
- Strong self-doubt
- feelings of guilt and self-reproach
- Concentration and attention disorders
- Extreme need for sleep or difficulty sleeping
- Strong restlessness and inner agitation
- loss of sexual interest
Depression Symptoms in Men
Men are less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Part of the reason is that the condition often manifests differently in men than in women. Aggression, severe irritability, poor impulse control and low stress tolerance are common side effects here.
Many affected men also take more risks than usual, for example driving a car much too fast. They often drink more alcohol than usual or smoke more. They blame their fellow human beings and are dissatisfied with themselves and the world. One reason for this may be that they feel weak and unmanly because of the depressive feelings and therefore act out their feelings differently.
Attention, risk of suicide!: In severe depression, the negative thoughts sometimes become so strong that suicidal thoughts arise. There is a risk of suicide!
Physical symptoms of depression
Depression is often accompanied by physical complaints that have no recognizable organic cause. Such symptoms are called somatic. Typical physical symptoms include:
- cardiovascular problems
- headache and back pain
- stomach and bowel problems
- sleep disorders
- Loss of appetite, more rarely: increased appetite
- morning low
- sexual reluctance
Sometimes the physical complaints are so much in the foreground that the depression is not recognized immediately. Doctors then speak of a somatic syndrome. The physical symptoms appear in phases and subside as the depression is treated.
If the doctor cannot find an organic cause for the symptoms, he will uncover the hidden depression as the actual cause by asking specific questions. If this is the case, he will diagnose a so-called somatization disorder. This does not mean that the patients only imagine the symptoms, but only that the depression manifests itself in physical form.
Delusions and hallucinations in depression
A major depressive episode is sometimes accompanied by delusions and hallucinations . The patients then suffer, for example, from delusions of persecution or obsessive thoughts . Such delusional depression is particularly difficult to treat. In addition to antidepressants, antipsychotic medications are also used.
Endogenous and exogenous depression
A few years ago, depression was divided into endogenous and exogenous depression, depending on the suspected causes. These terms are no longer common in the professional world, but are otherwise still widespread.
An endogenous depression was a depression without a recognizable external trigger or organic cause. This form of the disease was attributed to altered metabolic processes in the brain, for example due to a corresponding genetic predisposition.
If, on the other hand, a specific trigger for a depression seemed to be recognizable, one spoke of an exogenous depression . The terms “reactive depression” or “depressive reaction” were also frequently used. When mental stress was assumed to be the cause of reactive depression, this was referred to as ” psychogenic depression” .