If depression is a disease in its own right from a medical point of view, it is difficult to recognize it, as its symptoms are diffuse and complex: mood disorders, libido, sleep, eating … Find out about the main symptoms and warning signs of depression.
Do not confuse depression and temporary depression . While the symptoms of these two conditions can sometimes be similar (sadness, disturbed sleep, discouragement, etc.), their duration is a good indicator.
The simple cockroach causes temporary signs. In contrast, depression is characterized by the occurrence of mood disorders well characterized which appear almost permanently for at least two consecutive weeks. These disturbances generally cause significant difficulties in the emotional, social or professional fields.
The combination of depressive signs can alert those around you. In addition, better identifying the disease helps relatives to talk about it with victims.
What are the different types of depression?
- The depressive episode: for more than 15 days, the person is tired, sad and has lost all focus. Other symptoms: sleep disturbances, appetite, dark thoughts …
- Seasonal depression : due to a decrease in natural light, it occurs in late autumn until spring.
- The postpartum depression: the mother experiences intense depressive symptoms within a month of giving birth.
- Reactive depression : it follows an ordeal (bereavement, accident, divorce).
- Masked depression: the body expresses suffering through physical disorders (back pain, headaches), sometimes associated with those of classic depression (sadness, sleep disturbances).
- Recurrent depressive disorder (or chronic depression): it is characterized by the repeated appearance of depressive episodes with periods of remission.
- The smiling depression: it is very difficult to identify because the people who suffer from it do not show anything. They seem happy in appearance, but in reality are in deep pain inside.
Depression usually results in a loss of vitality associated with a intense fatigue and to a lack of energy. On a daily basis, it is then difficult to perform trivial actions. This state has a name: the “impossible task“. We talk about it when the patient no longer feels capable of performing tasks which, until then, were carried out naturally without thinking about it: going to buy bread, make his bed, take care of administrative or household tasks. ..
A sudden impossibility generally misunderstood by relatives of a person suffering from the syndrome. As mundane as these “impossible tasks” are, you shouldn’t hesitate to tell your loved ones about them and get help. Writer Molly Backes, who suffered from the syndrome herself, said: “Once a friend picked me up and drove me to the pharmacy which was two blocks away. It was an incredible gift. ”
For some people, sleeping becomes a refuge. However, this excess is not beneficial: people with depression are always just as tired, even with 10 hours of sleep under their belt. For others, the nights are short: bed late, waking up at night or early in the morning, around 4 or 5 o’clock. Sleep is shallower and waking up can be psychologically painful.
Most of the time, in times of depression, sexuality is neglected because the body and the head, motors in this domain, are disturbed. The depressed person no longer takes pleasure in making love with his partner and generally loses the desire to do so.
Even the sexual desire for the other becomes non-existent. The sexual act becomes difficult, even sometimes painful in women when the drop in libido results in vaginal dryness.
Decreased ability to concentrate or think
People with depression may experience difficulty thinking and expressing yourself clearly. In a conversation, words are hard to find and sentences lack fluidity. People with depression feel like they are empty-headed or that the world has become too complicated for them. Memory and concentration also tend to decrease. People with depression have a harder time fixing their attention, remembering what they have just read or heard, and not being distracted.
In depression, the appetite is often disturbed. It is either increased or decreased. People with depression can take refuge in food (most often sweet) to create a refuge. The pleasure of eating can also abandon them. Or they will abandon everything related to food. In the latter case, the food seems tasteless, and the preparation of dishes becomes a chore. Mealtimes often become irregular and their composition unbalanced.
Gaining or losing weight can indicate depression. But eating disorders can also turn into depression.
Sadness and hypersensitivity
For no apparent reason, people with depression can be overwhelmed by a feeling of immense and unusual sadness. Soon the subject no longer finds meaning or interest in life. The small pleasures (reading a book, going for a walk, seeing friends) which hitherto punctuated his life are no more.
Sadness can bring hypersensitivity facing everyday situations. The slightest difficulty or annoyance becomes insurmountable. Sensitivity is often associated with a feeling of emotional emptiness or irritability. Every confrontation or obstacle in everyday life can lead the depressed person to get angry very easily and significantly.
Guilt and dark thoughts
Decreased self-esteem is very common in people with depression. They feel responsible for their condition and feel guilty for not being able to cope on their own. Defeatism appears, then spreads throughout life. Often, people with depression do not even imagine living in another way let alone seeing the end of the ordeal. For this reason, they do not seek outside help and feel that no one will be able to influence their situation.
Morbid thoughts can manifest. The person must talk about it at all costs and be taken care of quickly because depression is the leading cause of suicide in France.
Your phone, the best ally in reducing depression?
In a recent study, published in the June 9, 2021 online edition of Nature Translational Psychiatry, researchers at the University of California San Diego, US School of Medicine used a combination of modalities as measuring brain function, cognition, and lifestyle factors, to generate personalized predictions of depression.
“There are different reasons and underlying causes of depression. Simply put, the current standards of health care are mainly to ask people how they feel and then write a prescription for medication. first-line have been shown to be only mild to moderately effective in large-scale trials “, regrets Jyoti Mishra, lead author of the study, director of NEATLabs and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine of the UC San Diego. Before adding:
“Depression is a multifaceted illness, and we need to approach it with personalized treatment, whether it’s therapy with a mental health professional, more exercise, or a combination of ‘approaches”.
A personalized approach
For a month, researchers collected data from 14 participants with depression using smartphone apps and connected devices (like smartwatches). All of these devices measure sleep, exercise, diet and stress. These data were then combined with cognitive assessments and electroencephalography using electrodes placed on the scalp.
“Our study shows that we can use technology and tools that are readily available, such as mobile phone applications, to collect information from individuals suffering or at risk of depression, without significant burden for them, then use this information to design personalized treatment plans, “the researchers say. For example, exercise and daily caffeine consumption appeared to be strong predictors of mood for one participant, but for another, it was sleep and stress, while in a third subject the main indicators were brain function and responses cognitive to rewards.