What are signs of depression? "I am depressed" is quickly said, but depression is a serious and clearly defined mental illness that requires professional help. Here you can find out by which signs you can recognize a depression.
Depression is often underestimated
Who doesn’t know it, bad mood and simply no desire for anything? Everyone has a bad day. That is completely normal and simply belongs to it. All too often, we then colloquially speak of being "depressed" already. Depression should not be underestimated. You are not alone with a depression. In Germany, more than 5 million people suffer from depression every year. It is one of the most common mental illnesses.
It is not yet a depression, if you are sometimes sad or your mood is depressed. Depression is an illness that goes beyond that. The symptoms of depression are clearly defined and recorded in the internationally recognized classification system ICD-10 of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Everyone experiences depression differently
Not every person with depression suffers from exactly the same symptoms. Only the sufferers themselves can report how they experience the illness. Many, however, share similar signs that can be used to recognize a depression. The world seems grayer than usual and it may feel as if a kind of veil has settled over you. There is a lack of energy for simple everyday activities and you no longer find pleasure in things you used to enjoy. The lack of strength becomes the predominant feeling in life.
However, it is an illusion that all depressed people cry a lot. For some, this is the case, while others can no longer cry at all. People often describe the behavior of those affected as apathetic. For those affected, it often feels as if they are no longer capable of feeling anything at all. Therefore, attempts at encouragement by others often have no effect.
Why do I feel like this right now??
You may have asked yourself the same question. "I don’t really have any reason to be depressed". The impression of being responsible for one’s own condition can lead to feelings of self-reproach and guilt. Feeling small and thoughts like "I can’t do anything," "I’m nothing" are familiar to many sufferers. Lack of understanding on the part of those around them, such as "it’ll be okay" or "just pull yourself together," can cause affected persons to withdraw even more.
During depression, you may find it harder than usual to concentrate, remember, or make decisions. And not only at work or at school. Sometimes it is difficult to follow conversations or just to sit still. Others, conversely, find it difficult to move.
How to get through the day?
Problems falling asleep or having a bad night’s sleep. Irregular sleep can make getting up in the morning a torture. You may also feel very exhausted during the day and need deep, restful sleep. As a result of sleep disturbances, mood can often be depressed, especially in the morning. In this context, the term "morning low" is also used.
Signs of depression also manifest themselves physically
Some people feel more physical discomfort at first and look for a physical cause for it. Affected people often report vague pains in the head or back area. Digestive problems, gastrointestinal complaints or heart problems can also occur.
In women, menstrual cramps in combination with depression are not uncommon. Many sufferers also lose weight unintentionally. For men, other challenges may arise. The libido – the desire for sexuality – suffers. If in doubt, the individual variations may mean that depression is not recognized as such for the time being.
Symptoms influence each other
Individual symptoms can influence each other. For example, some people with depression tend to brood. Thoughts that revolve around negative experiences disrupt sleep patterns. Poor sleep in turn fuels negative thoughts or reduces memory performance. This in turn has an impact on self-confidence. This creates a vicious circle that must be broken.
In some cases, the negative assumptions are so strong that thoughts of death arise. At the latest when suicidal thoughts occur, one should seek medical or psychological help.
Depression affects one’s entire life
Hardly any illness affects a person’s life more than depression. For relatives, too, the disease often means an enormous burden. You may even withdraw from good friends – out of exhaustion or shame. Since depression can affect emotions, thoughts, behavior and body, it affects the person as a whole. The entire well-being is affected.
A depressive episode can be treated
One speaks of a so-called depressive episode, if a certain number of symptoms is continuously present over the period of at least two weeks. There are different degrees of severity. In professional circles, a distinction is made between mild, moderate and severe depressive episodes. A diagnosis is made only by a doctor or psychotherapist.
The term "episode" already indicates that a depression will also pass again. Nevertheless, such a phase can last for a long time. With professional treatment, the period of the depressive episode can be significantly reduced. If depressive symptoms are recognized early, countermeasures can be taken in time – with the goal of returning to a stable and balanced life as soon as possible. Our depression test can help to recognize symptoms and take the first step.