It’s important to realise that depression is an emotional state and therefore an entirely subjective condition. As such, it can only be perceived by the sufferer, there are no laboratory tests that can confirm it.
Since it is impossible to verify what a person is experiencing emotionally, and no biochemical markers have yet been identified, a diagnosis of clinical depression relies on the individual’s report of the severity of their symptoms and the extent to which it affects their life.
The unpleasant sensations and physical effects that are associated with depression are actually symptoms and signs of anxiety. This can manifest as a rapid pulse, a degree of breathlessness, ‘butterflies’ in the stomach or an unpleasant feeling in the chest, gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, and trembling. The two conditions are intrinsically linked, with chronic anxiety frequently leading to depression and only 2% of depressed people not reporting anxiety symptoms.
Listed below are many of the common symptoms and signs of depression. Symptoms are problems that you feel or experience yourself, while signs are effects that can be observed by others.
|Persistent sadness||Frequently tearful|
|Feeling low-spirited most of the time||Lack of enjoyment or interest in life|
|Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem||Undue feelings of guilt or self-blame|
|Difficulty concentrating||Difficulty making decisions|
|Poor short-term memory||Lack of motivation|
|Feeling worthless||Feeling a failure|
|Feelings of hopelessness or despair||Feeling helpless|
|Feeling overwhelmed by problems||Life seems not worth living|
|Difficulty falling asleep||Sleeping a lot or very little|
|Waking frequently or too early||Having a pessimistic view of the future|
|Avoiding contact with other people||Withdrawing from social interaction|
|No interest in other people||No interest in activities or hobbies|
|Feeling alone or unsupported||Unable to cope with stressful situations|
|Finding it hard to function at home or work||Moving or speaking more slowly than usual|
|Taking no interest in appearance||Not bothering to get dressed|
|Habitually overeating or comfort eating||Binging on food or alcohol|
|Loss of appetite or not bothering to eat||Loss of interest in sex or relationships|
|Dwelling on negative thoughts||Repeatedly talking about bad experiences|
|A sense of impending doom||Inability to relax or calm down|
|Feeling emotionally numb or apathetic||Contemplating suicide and death|
|Self-harming or using illicit drugs||Obsessive thoughts or actions|
|Feeling nervous, anxious or agitated||Getting easily annoyed or irritated|
|Lack of mental and physical energy||Feeling emotionally exhausted|