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Depression symptoms

Depression is a serious mental health condition that is typically characterised by repeated and often debilitating depressive episodes, which consist of symptoms such as:

  • Pervasive sadness
  • Diminished mood
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Reduced ability to experience pleasure
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Reduced appetite
  • Decreased sexual desire and functioning

Whilst it is relatively normal for most people to experience temporary versions of these symptoms from time-to-time, people who suffer from depression often experience such severe and distressing symptoms, that their ability to function effectively on a day-to-day basis is significantly impaired. In addition, many people suffering from depression choose to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs as a means of trying to reduce their symptoms, which can ultimately worsen their mental and physical wellbeing over time and result in their depression co-occurring alongside a harmful addiction.

Despite the fact that depression can be extremely difficult to cope with and can have a profoundly negative impact on the quality, productivity and satisfaction of a person’s life, it is important to understand that depression is entirely treatable. Our experts at Manor Clinic possess extensive clinical experience in providing high quality treatment for depression, when this co-exists alongside an addiction, enabling each and every one of our patients to overcome their depression symptoms, acquire lifelong coping skills, and achieve long-term recovery.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

The signs and symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, and also depend on the type of depression that an individual is suffering from. However, the following symptoms are common to all types of depression and may indicate that an individual requires professional psychological treatment to overcome their depression.

Physical symptoms of depression:

  • Psychomotor agitation (characterised by restlessness or an inability to sit still)
  • Psychomotor retardation (causing movements to slow down)
  • Inability to sleep, or sleeping more than usual
  • Weight loss or weight gain due to appetite changes
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Unexplained aches, pains and digestive problems
  • Sexual dysfunction

Psychological symptoms of depression:

  • Intense feelings of sadness and despair
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Not being able to see a way out of your depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Tearfulness and crying more than usual
  • Flat affect (reduced emotional reactivity)
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Impaired judgement
  • Impaired decision-making abilities
  • Lack of interest in physical appearance and personal hygiene
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts

Behavioural/social symptoms of depression:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Lack of interest in activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed
  • Reduced performance at work
  • Frequent absences from work
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Inability to manage day-to-day tasks
  • Relationship problems

What are the long-term effects of depression?

If depression is left untreated, it can result in a whole host of long-term problems, which can further exacerbate existing symptoms of depression. These may include:

  • Job loss and unemployment
  • Family conflict
  • Relationship breakdowns
  • Financial problems
  • Decrease in physical activity
  • Failure to follow a healthy diet
  • Decline in physical health
  • Onset of co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Exacerbation of co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal impulses

This page was reviewed by Sarina Wheatman (FDAP) in October 2021.

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