Signs and symptoms of depression

How do recognize the signs and symptoms of depression?

Depression is characterized by a set of symptoms and not by an isolated sign. These symptoms are listed in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which is the basic medical work for the diagnosis of mental illnesses.
The signs of depression concern disorders not only of mood but also of bodily and cognitive functioning. In order to establish the diagnosis of depression, it is necessary the presence of a certain number of these signs depends on the type of depression. There are nine major symptoms in depression described by the DSM-IV. Remember that only a medical diagnosis can confirm the presence of a depressive disorder in a person.

There are two types of depression: Bipolar depression and Unipolar depression

The 9 major symptoms of depression

  1. Depressed mood: It is a feeling of sadness or emptiness present almost every day and all day. This sadness may be accompanied by crying or feelings of despair. The particularity is that this stress is almost permanent and has no specific reason given by the person.
  2. Declining interest: It is a marked lack of interest in almost all activities and consequently a lack of pleasure in activities that were pleasant for the person before the depressive episode. Thus, a person with a depressive syndrome will recount all the activities of his day in a monotonous and detached way of emotion.
  3. Evolution of weight: Eating disorders related to depression are characterized by significant weight loss in the absence of a diet or, on the contrary, significant weight gain. Weight loss comes from a lack of appetite in connection with the general lack of interest of the person. Excess appetite can be a way to fill the feeling of emptiness by swallowing large amounts of food.
  4. Sleeping troubles: Sleep disturbances in depression are characterized by insomnia or hypersomnia. In the case of insomnia, it is a difficulty in falling asleep at the beginning of the night. Despite their significant fatigue, the depressed person has difficulty falling asleep because they tend to think about many things during this period. She can also wake up several times a night and for relatively long periods of time before returning to sleep. These breaks in sleep diminish the restorative qualities of sleep.
    Hypersomnia is characterized by a significantly longer than average sleep time. For the person with depressive disorders, sleep can then be a means of escaping suffering.


  1. Evolution of psychomotor behavior: This sign is most often characterized by psychomotor slowing. People with depressive disorders have slow gestures, slow speech rate. This slowness can also affect certain biological functions such as digestion.In some cases, the evolution of psychomotor behavior is characterized more by agitation.
  2.  Fatigue: The person with depressive disorders feels tired almost constantly. She feels a lack of energy which makes it difficult for her to get active. Fatigue is also partly due to the sleep disturbances she encounters.
  3. Feeling of worthlessness: During a depressive episode, the person feels an excessive feeling of devaluation of his person and/or possibly a strong feeling of guilt which is most often outside of any reality.
  4. Cognitive disorders: It is a cognitive dysfunction that decreases reasoning ability. Along with this difficulty in thinking, there are difficulties in concentration and positioning which lead to an inability to make decisions.
  5. Dark thoughts: These dark thoughts may concern the person with depressive disorder or other people. They concern, among other things, recurring ideas of death or suicide. The depressed person can also think about suicide in a concrete way with the imagination of a suicide scenario. Acting out suicide is one of the major risks of depression.

Stages of depression

There are three main stages of the disease:

  1. Refusal. Man denies the existence of difficulties and blames his condition on normal fatigue. He was torn between the need to get away from others, and the fear of being left the same. So here is the stage, we need professional help, that helps to quickly deal with the situation.
  2. Acceptance. At this stage, the person who realizes that he has depression, this condition is often afraid. At the same time began to have problems with appetite and immune system. More and more, there are negative thoughts.
  3. Destruction. The third stage will begin when there is no professional help. When noticing the loss of self-control, anger will appear. Men will begin to break down as a person.
    Depending on what stage of depression found that the disease, directly affect the effectiveness of treatment and time to get rid of the problem.


It is important to remember that others cannot help get rid of the disorder, so make sure you seek help from a therapist. Determine whether the disease is carried out using special scales and questionnaires that help you not only to make a clear diagnosis (depression), but also to evaluate the severity of the situation.
In some cases, you may need to study brain activity Bioelectrical (EEG) and study hormones.


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