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Symptons of depression

depressed person is usually slow in moving and thinking, although agitation can occur. Even speech can be slow and monotonous. There can be lack of interest and attention to personal hygiene and grooming. The person usually looks sad and depressed and often anxious, irritable and easily moved to tears (although in severe depression the person often describes being emotionally blunt and beyond tears).

The thought content often has themes of hopelessness and helplessness, with a negative view of:

1. The self
(I'm a failure; Its all my fault: Nothing good ever happens to me; I'm worthless; No-one loves me).
2. The world
(Life is not worth living; There is nothing good out there).
3. The future
(Things will always be bad).

Symptoms of depression affect emotions, thinking behaviour and physical well being. Some examples are listed below:

Sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, mood swings, lack of emotional responsiveness, helplessness, hopelessness.
Frequent self-criticism, self-blame, worry, pessimism, impaired memory and concentration, indecisiveness and confusion, tendency to believe others see you in a negative light, thoughts of death and suicide.
Crying spells, withdrawal from others, neglect of responsibilities, loss of interest in personal appearance, loss of motivation.
Chronic fatigue, lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, overeating or loss of appetitie, constipation, weight loss or gain, irregular menstrual cycle, loss of sexual desire, unexplained aches and pains.

Not every person who is depressed has all these symptoms. People who are more severly depressed will have more symptoms than those who are mildly depressed. Here is a guide to severity of depression:

mild depression
4 of the 10 symptoms over the past two weeks
moderate depression
6 of the 10 symptoms over the past two weeks
severe depression
8 of the 10 symptoms over the past two weeks

Symptoms of Depression
If a person is clinically depressed they would have at least two of the following symptoms for at least "two weeks":
 An unusually sad mood that does not go away.
 Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable.
 Lack of energy and tiredness.

People who are depressed have other symptoms such as:
 Loss of confidence in themselves or poor self-esteem.
 Feeling guilty when they are not really at fault.
 Wishing they were dead.
 Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
 Moving more slowly or, sometimes, sleeping too much.
 Loss of interest in food or, sometimes, eating too much. Changes in eating habits may lead to either loss of weight or putting on weight.

Acknowledgment To:
Kitchener, BA & Jorm, AF (2002) Mental Health First Aid Manual.
Centre for Mental Health Research, Canberra

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