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Four major symptoms of depression

October 1, 2010 One Comment

1. Sad Affect
A depressed person looks sad. He or she cries often or feels like crying. She looks tired, discouraged, or dejected. She will often lose interest in her personal appearance. Even if he or she tries to hide the depression by smiling, it still shows.

2. Negative and Distorted Thinking
A depressed person’s thinking is very inward-focused in a derogatory way. She ruminates over past mistakes; worrying over past wrongs and future situations. She believes she is inadequate—not good enough; smart enough (dumb), attractive enough (fat and ugly) or not successful enough (lazy).
In her negativity about herself, she expects others will also see her as “less than,”—not measuring up to what they expect. As a result she feels rejected and unloved. In essence, the depressed person has an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and feelings of worthlessness—as if she is a nobody.

3. Physical Symptoms

Actual biochemical changes take place in the human nervous system during clinical depression. Our brain runs on serotonin the way cars run on gasoline. Biochemical changes have physical results: the body movements of the depressed person usually decrease. The quality of sleep is affected (either difficulty falling asleep, or more often waking up too early, and unable to fall back asleep). Appetite is also often affected, by eating either too much or too little, with resulting weight gain or loss. Gastro-intestinal problems relate to appetite changes, and upset stomach, diarrhea or constipation often occur. The menstrual cycle may stop for months, or may be irregular. Tension headaches are common in depressed individuals. People often think they have a physical disorder, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugars), rather than depression because of their physical symptoms, and many would actually prefer to have a physical illness to save face.

4. Anxiety

 A fourth major symptom of depression is anxiety or agitation. Anxiety and depression usually occur together. The person is often more irritable than usual. They worry about everything, and expect negative outcomes, and as the depression increases, so does the agitation.
C.H.

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