Sadness is often mistaken for depression, most people use depression loosely to describe how they feel after a bad week at work or when they are going through a breakup. But major depressive disorder — a type of depression — is much more complicated. Here are symptoms that determine whether what you feel is depression or sadness.
1. Hopeless Outlook
Major depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about life in general. Having a hopeless or helpless outlook on your life is the most common symptom of depression.
Other feelings may be worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt. Common, recurring thoughts of depression may be vocalized as, “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point?”
2. Lost Interest
Depression can take the pleasure or enjoyment out of the things you love. A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once looked forward to — sports, hobbies, or going out with friends — is yet another telltale sign of major depression.
Another area where you may lose interest is sex. Symptoms of major depression include a decreased sex drive and even impotence.
3. Increased Fatigue And Sleep Problems
Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.
Depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. They can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.
While depression hasn’t been shown to cause anxiety, the two conditions often occur together. Symptoms of anxiety can include: nervousness, restlessness, or feeling tense; feeling of danger, panic, or dread; rapid heart rate; rapid breathing; increased or heavy sweating; trembling or muscle twitching; trouble focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than what you’re worried about.
4. Irritability In Men
Depression can affect the sexes differently. Research shows that men with depression may have symptoms such as irritability, escapist or risky behavior, substance abuse, or misplaced anger.
Men are also less likely than women to recognize depression or seek treatment for it.
5. Changes In Appetite And Weight
Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others won’t be hungry and will lose weight.
One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if they’re intentional or not. If they’re not, it may mean that they’re caused by depression.
6. Uncontrollable Emotions
One minute it’s an outburst of anger. The next you’re crying uncontrollably. Nothing outside of you prompted the change, but your emotions are up and down at a moment’s notice. Depression can cause mood swings.
Depression is sometimes connected with suicide. People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first. Often people will talk about it or make a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. Get help if you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person.