Nearly everyone has felt depressed, sad, or down in the dumps at one time or another. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to a stressful event, such as when one suffers a loss or endures another of life’s various struggles or stresses.
Sometimes, however, these feelings of depression can become intense, last for long periods (weeks or even months), and prevent a person from doing their normal day to day activities. This is what is known as ‘major’ or clinical depression. It is a serious medical illness that affects how you feel, think and behave.
Depression has a lot of features, but the most common are a deep feeling of sadness or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities which you previously liked doing.
These symptoms must be present for at least a few weeks before clinical depression can be considered as a possibility.
Other associated features include:
- Changes in appetite (generally a loss of normal appetite).
- Changes in sleeping pattern (generally reduced sleep).
- Loss of energy.
- Difficulty in thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
- Irritability and restlessness.
- Feelings of worthlessness or of being a failure or bad person.
- Thoughts of death, of life not being worth living or of suicide.
- Physical aches and pains.