Mood disorders rank among the top 10 causes of worldwide disability, and Major Depression takes the first spot on the list. Furthermore, depression is the leading cause of diminished productivity and absenteeism in the workplace. Listed below are the classic signs of depression according as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). Signs of depression vary greatly and it is crucial to seek help from your doctor or mental health provider if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms described below.
An individual is diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) after they experience five or more of the following symptoms almost every day for the same two-week period, and at least one of the symptoms must be depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure:
• Lack of energy and fatigue
• Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
• A dramatic change in appetite resulting in a 5% change in weight (gain or loss) in a month
• Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
• Inability to concentrate, think clearly, or make decisions
• Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
• Inactivity and withdrawal from typical pleasurable activities
• Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
• Thoughts of death or suicide
Depressive symptoms may vary extremely from one individual to another. While one depressed person may experience feelings of irritation, anger, and discouragement, another may feel hopeless, sadness, and helplessness. Furthermore, depressive symptoms may seem to change an individual’s personality. For example, a patient might start to lose his or her temper about matters that would normally not concern him or her.
Moreover, individuals with severe depression may experience psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are strongly held false beliefs that lead an individual to misinterpret relationships and events.
Delusions vary greatly in their themes and may include:
• Persecutory: believing someone is following you or spying on you
• Somatic: believing a body part has been injured or altered
• Referential: believing a movie or song lyrics contain special messages only for you
• Erotomaniac: believing that another individual, usually one of higher status, is in love with you
• Grandiose: Believing that you have special powers, talents, or that you are famous
• Religious: False believes regarding spiritual or religious content
Hallucinations are experiences involving the sensation of something that appears to be real to the patient although these sensations are not caused by real things in the environment. Hallucinations may be extremely convincing as well as disturbing to the patient.
Different themes related to hallucinations may include:
• The sensory realm: sound, sight, smell, taste, and touch.
• Auditory: (the most common form) involving hearing voices of individuals who are not actually present.
Thankfully, there are numerous treatments to relieve individuals of depression. Treatments may include cognitive based therapy, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, group and family therapy, medications, non-pharmacological treatment, and much more. The type of treatment depends on what works best with the individual.
Thousands of individuals have overcome depression and now lead happy and healthy lives. Capitol Care’s many behavioral and mental health programs are designed to treat depression and have proven to be highly effective. Do not face this difficult problem on your own.
Disability and suffering is not limited to the individual diagnosed with Depression. Family and friends of individuals suffering from major depression often experience anger, guilt, frustration, and financial hardship.
To learn more, or if you or a loved one are seeking help for any mental health illness, contact Capitol Care at our Alabama department of mental health. We are confident that our treatments will continue to give hope and relief to individuals and families affected by major depression.