10 symptoms of depression that should alert you


In this article you will understand what depression is and what are the 10 signs that should alert you so that you do not sink into a chronic depression

Table of contents

Depressed, tired, exhausted... many are the terms often used to hide the beginnings of real depression. While transient sadness is natural, persistent symptoms may be signs of a major depressive episode.

Depression is a disease that progresses quickly and can lead the person to imagine the worst when the suffering has become unbearable. Here are the 10 symptoms of depression that should alert you.

I. What is depression?

Depression (nervous breakdown) is an illness, a mood disorder (dysthymia) that manifests as characterized by depressive episodes.

Often depressed people feel particularly tired and sad, these are the most suggestive symptoms of depression, but other symptoms exist and can detect the disease. These affect the affective, cognitive, and psychomotor spheres and must last at least 15 days to be similar to a depressive episode.

When you suffer from depression, it is your whole person affected by the disease. You thus find yourself faced with a vicious circle with painful consequences since the disease hinders your ability to continue your daily activities normally, which causes the feeling of being diminished at different levels and feeds a tendency to self-devaluation.

Frequently confused with depression, it is often underestimated by those around him or her or by the depressive himself or herself.

There are several forms of depression:

  • Reactive depression
  • chronic depression
  • Hidden or masked depression
  • postpartum depression
  • bipolar depression
  • seasonal depression

Finally, depending on the intensity of the depression, the daily life of depressed people is often difficult to live because the disease constitutes a real handicap. While some people will experience episodes of mild depression, others will experience major (severe) depression, from which recovery will take longer.

On the other hand, this does not exempt the person from consulting a psychologist or at least a general practitioner who will accompany him in his treatment protocol, regardless of the type of depression.

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II. What are the 10 symptoms of depression?

1. Very tired

The first symptom of depression is the severe fatigue you may feel. It is total exhaustion that prevents you from doing certain activities. Depending on the severity of your depression, this fatigue is more or less bearable.

If you are in mild depression, you will find it difficult to go out to meet your friends or even find the motivation to practice a sports activity and if you are in moderate depression, you will no longer have the strength to leave your home.

On the other hand, if you are in severe depression, the slightest movement can be experienced as a real torture. This abnormal fatigue is a classic symptom of depression, hence the need to be followed as soon as possible.

2. Persistent sadness

The second symptom of depression is persistent sadness for at least fifteen days.

This sadness often appears after a difficult ordeal which can lead to reactive depression for example, but also for no apparent reason. It settles little by little in your daily life without you sometimes realizing it.

At first, you may even equate this sadness with slight fatigue because you are going through a period that requires energy.

But suddenly you find yourself crying more and more. It's after your day at work, trying to fall asleep, getting up in the morning...the evenings are getting longer and longer with all these ambivalent emotions and this sadness feels like a real weight.

The sadness associated with depression leads to self-deprecating thoughts and gradually plunges you into a melancholic state.

3. The circadian rhythm is disturbed

Depression leads to a disruption in your internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. The latter governs sleep and food.

As a result, when depression sets in, sleep disorders appear, giving way to insomnia or, on the contrary, to hypersomnia. Possible eating disorders also arise.

Some people will thus have more difficulty falling asleep, will be subject to untimely awakenings, or will be plunged into a heavy sleep from which it will be difficult to get out.

In addition to the fact that these disturbances aggravate the fatigue already felt, they also leave room for ruminations. This will result in maintaining negative thoughts and accentuate self-devaluation.

4. Eating Disorders

The fourth symptom is abnormal weight gain or weight loss.

If after numerous medical examinations prescribed by your doctor, you cannot explain this sudden weight loss, depression is surely the cause.

Depression acts as a real appetite suppressant, you lose your appetite and you no longer eat very well.

For some, you will skip meals, for others, some days will pass without the slightest appetite. Sometimes it's the other way around: you gain weight.

Some will feed exclusively on fast food or very sweet foods to compensate for the lack of energy felt, others will experience bouts of bulimia.

It is not uncommon to see people with dietary deficiencies or abnormal blood tests due to very poor eating habits. It is important to maintain a healthy eating pattern, even in depression.

5. Psychosomatic pain

If you have physical symptoms that cannot be explained after numerous examinations, it is possible that they are due to your depression.

This is usually referred to as a latent or masked depression. These symptoms can be headaches, dizziness, lower back pain, or digestive problems. It is essential to be attentive to unexplained pain when going through a difficult period.

Good to know: The psychological symptoms of masked depression take a back seat, giving way only to physical symptoms. Therefore, this type of depression is more difficult to detect, and very often the people concerned are not treated accordingly.

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6. Difficulty concentrating

With depression, you have trouble concentrating, and attention but also memory loss.

You find yourself searching for your keys for long minutes while they are under your nose. You arrive at the supermarket without remembering why you are there. You forget your phone's pin code, which has been the same for several years.

These everyday situations, often minimized because generally put on account of temporary fatigue, nevertheless illustrate a concentration disorder due to depression.

This is because when a person is depressed, the hippocampus in the brain is usually atrophied, in part because the person is under prolonged stress. This consequence of depression on the brain is especially observed in people who suffer from chronic depression, for example.

Illustration of brain regions studied in mental illness: ACC, amygdala, hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex. (Photo credit: NIH)
Illustration of brain regions studied in mental illness: ACC, amygdala, hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex. (Photo credit: NIH)

7. Psychomotor slowing

  • You are slower, whether walking or performing everyday actions.
  • You struggle to find your words and thinking is a real chore.

You even wonder if you haven't lost your intelligence, it worries you so much your system is slowed down. The smallest decisions, no matter how small, seem insurmountable to you.

Physically, it's not better: You take a long time to get out of bed, you have trouble getting dressed, and getting ready to go out becomes a task as exhausting as a marathon.

8. A low libido

During the depression, your body goes into energy conservation. Your libidinal energy is then redistributed elsewhere.

If you are in a relationship, this symptom is particularly difficult for your partner to live with because you lose the desire you felt for her/him, despite all the love in the world.

But this is also a source of suffering for you, because you may not understand what is happening to you, and you begin to feel guilty about it.

Generally, your partner worries and asks you if you still love him or if you still want him. This can be a new source of conflict. Talk about it openly and without fear, you are normal.

9. A loss of interest and pleasure

Pervasive sadness and fatigue create a loss of motivation.

It can start with a loss of desire to perform certain activities that you once did with enthusiasm and pleasure until you no longer want to get out of bed.

In depression, however, the loss of interest is not limited to daily activities. It's about a lack of love for life in general, which is created. You lose pleasure in doing, but also in being and existing.

It is therefore very important to react when you feel that you no longer have any taste for anything. Loss of interest is a symptom of depression that sets the stage for suicidal thoughts.

This symptom is strongly present in seasonal depression, which is characterized by fatigue and sadness observed during the change of seasons.

10. Deep distress and suicidal thoughts

You have always overcome hardships, setbacks, and failures, but this time is too much. You no longer have plans for the future, you can't really imagine a favorable outcome for your situation.

Sometimes you have very dark, very negative, even suicidal thoughts.

You question your existence and you begin to wonder that if you weren't there, maybe it would be better. These thoughts must imperatively alert you. This is the most alarming symptom of depression, signifying that you should quickly seek help from a psychiatrist or psychologist.

III. Bottom line

Depression is a disease whose consequences on people's lives are numerous and more or less serious, depending on the intensity of the depression. For the depressive episode to be diagnosed, the symptoms must last at least 15 days.

There are 10 symptoms that can detect depression, including suicidal thoughts, indicating a very deep depression. However, with proper management, depression can be cured. However, it will require psychological monitoring in parallel with other medical treatments in order to limit the risk of relapse.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative, I have no authority to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. I invite you to visit a psychologist to treat your particular case.