The Signs of Depression
Depression is a loss of an important life goal without anyone to blame. Such a loss affects our behavior, our moods or subjective feelings, our skills, our attitudes or motivations, and our physical functioning and health. Several writers (Levitt & Lubin, 1975; Beck, 1973; Lewinsohn, 1975) have summarized the signs of more severe depression:
Behavioral excesses --complaints about money, job, housing, noise, poor memory, confusion, loneliness, lack of care and love... acting out (adolescents), running away from home, rebellious, aggressive... obsessed with guilt and concern about doing wrong, about being irresponsible, about the welfare of others, and about "I can't make up my mind anymore"... crying... suicidal threats or attempts.
Behavioral deficits --socially withdrawn, doesn't talk, indecisive, can't work regularly, difficulty communicating, slower speech and gait... loss of appetite, weight change, stays in bed... less sexual activity, poor personal grooming, and doing less for fun.
Emotional reactions --feels sad, feels empty or lacks feelings of all kinds, tired ("everything is an effort")... nervous or restless, angry and grouchy (adolescents), irritable, overreacts to criticism... bored, apathetic, "nothing is enjoyable," feels socially abandoned and/or has less interest in relationships, sex, food, drink, music, current events, etc.
Lack of skills --poor social skills, frequently whiny or boring, critical, lack of humor... indecisive, poor planning for future and unable to see "solutions."
Attitudes and motivation --low self-concept, lack of self-confidence and motivation, pessimistic or hopeless, feels helpless or like a failure, expects the worst... self-critical, guilt, self-blaming, "People would hate me if they knew me"... suicidal thoughts, "I wish I had never been born."
Physical symptoms --difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively, awaking early... hyperactivity or sluggishness, diurnal moods (worse in the morning)... low sex drive, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, indigestion, constipation, headaches, dizziness, pain, and other...