Most of us have heard of depression, know what it is, or at least know someone who has it or has had it. But do we know what its symptoms are and how they can be classified?S
In this article, we will know the main types of symptoms in depression according to their nature. These affect mood, motivation and behavior, cognition, physiology, and interpersonal relationships.
5 types of symptoms in depression
Before describing what are the 5 types of symptoms in depression, let’s describe, in a generic way, what this mental disorder consists of.
Depression (“major depressive disorder” in the current DSM-5) is a mood disorder, involving a number of symptoms (by DSM-5 criteria, a minimum of 5 from a list). We will explain these symptoms throughout the article, but mention that it is an essential requirement that they last a minimum of 2 weeks.
In addition, the person must have undergone a change in the way of functioning, which is seen in his depressed state of mind or in his loss of interest in things or in a decrease in pleasure or motivation.
As we will see, depression includes much more than sadness or lack of illusion, as is often thought; Thus, it can also lead to feelings of anger, anger, cognitive disturbances, irritability, psychophysiological symptoms, etc.
We find up to 5 types of symptoms in depression, according to their nature, affected area (of the person or of life) and characteristics. We will see them below.
The first group of the 5 types of symptoms in depression are mood symptoms, which affect mood, and which are perhaps the best known. These include the following.
Sadness is the central feature of depression. Most (but not all) of people with depression feel sad.
Although it is a totally normal and adaptive emotion (we are all sad from time to time), in depression this feeling appears along with others, so it is not enough to diagnose depression, logically.
Dejection, another mood symptom in depression, is a state in which the person is immersed, characterized by the loss of their strength on a physical or even moral level, as well as their energy or their spirits.
Unhappiness is also part of the mood symptoms of depression, precisely because it has to do with mood; it translates into a feeling of not enjoying things, of not being well and, ultimately, of not being happy or able to be.
The anxiety is also a very common symptom typically associated with depression. This can manifest itself in different ways (and to different degrees), through the feeling of suffocation or overwhelm, dizziness, nausea, uncertainty, irritability, stress, discomfort, stomach aches, pains in the belly, etc.
1.5. Vacuum sensation
Another key symptom in depression is the feeling of emptiness (which appears in other disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder ).
It consists, as its name suggests, of feeling an internal emptiness that is very difficult to fill; it is a feeling related to the “non-sense” of things and life, added to a lack of illusion for everything.
1.6. Emotional anesthesia
Emotional anesthesia appears especially in severe cases of depression. It implies not feeling anything: neither joy, nor sadness, nor anger …This would be like being in a state of emotional numbness, where nothing affects us and nothing worries us. It is a really serious symptom because it prevents us from processing what happens to us.
2. Motivational and behavioral symptoms
The second of the 5 types of symptoms in depression are motivational and behavioral symptoms.
Inhibition translates into avoiding doing the things we used to do; It is a difficulty when acting, such as when interacting with others . We are as withdrawn, closed in on ourselves.
Apathy in depression is a lack of enthusiasm for life in general, and it translates as a general state of disinterest coupled with a lack of motivation to do things. It makes us feel indifferent to any stimulus that comes from outside. It is a very frequent symptom.
Anhedonia, another also very frequent symptom, consists of the inability to experience pleasure. It is especially noticeable in the things that before depression did give us pleasure or satisfaction.
2.4. Lack of motivation
Nothing motivates us, nothing makes sense. We have a hard time doing things (even getting out of bed in the morning).
2.5. Psychomotor retardation
There may also be psychomotor retardation (our movements are slower: for example walking, moving in general …). Total immobility may even appear.
Or on the contrary, agitation may appear (state of excitement or exaggerated nervousness).
Characterized by mutism (not speaking) and/or paralysis. Here our ability to respond to stimuli decreases.
In depression, there are usually no alterations in verbal production or comprehension, but alterations in other functions do appear.
3.1. Impaired performance and formal deficits
Performance is affected by the following:
Attention, memory and mental speed
Automatic and executive effort and control (under certain stressful conditions)
3.2. Circular and rumination thinking
Circular, ruminant and even obsessive thoughts also appear.
3.3. Content alteration
The alterations in the content of thought are also notorious, and result in:
Negative triad (Aaron Beck): affecting the vision of oneself, the world and the future
Self-depreciation, guilt, hopelessness, ideas of suicide
Delusions of ruin, guilt, nihilists
Clarify at this point that the delusions that appear in depression are generally consistent with mood (if they are not, depression is even more severe).
People with more somatic / physical symptoms are those who seek professional help the most.
4.1. Sleeping problems
It is very difficult to sleep well when we suffer from depression. Disorders appear such as insomnia (very frequent), nightmares, unrefreshing sleep, etc.
We feel tired (even if we do nothing) and fatigued.
4.3. Increased or decreased appetite and weight
Hunger is also almost always altered, appearing a lot of desire to eat or little desire to eat (and even zero desire). As a consequence, the weight is also altered.
4.4. Decreased sexual desire
Libido (sexual desire) also decreases.
4.5. Diffuse bodily discomfort
Unpleasant and annoying sensations in the body.
4.6. Nausea, instability, dizziness
Symptoms that we have mentioned in anxiety, which can also appear in isolation.
Finally, the last of the 5 types of symptoms in depression are interpersonal symptoms. These predict a worse course of it, as well as a greater chronification of the disorder.
5.1. Deterioration of social relations
There is a deterioration in social relationships; friendships are “lost” or deteriorate.
5.2. Decreased interest in people
This decrease in interest in people, on many occasions, ends up being bidirectional (others stop being interested in us because we are depressed).
Finally, there may also appear a rejection of others, or of others (towards us).
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