Symptoms of depression

How does depression manifest itself?

Every person knows dark and sad phases. Under normal circumstances, these cease when the triggering events (for example, severe overload at work or serious events such as the loss of a loved one) have been sufficiently processed. However, this is often not the case for a person with depression

In depression, the following feelings usually dominate everyday life: depressed mood, sadness and hopelessness or despondency, as well as a feeling of inner emptiness. Those affected suffer from a strong lack of drive. In addition, constant anxiety may become a constant companion. The affected people are plagued by worries and heavy thoughts, such as feelings of guilt or thoughts about their own worthlessness. Due to this mental and physical imbalance, somatic complaints often occur as well. These include sleep and concentration disorders, loss of libido, headaches, loss of appetite, and stomach and intestinal problems
The depressive state varies throughout the day. Patients usually feel worse in the morning (the so-called morning low) than in the evening, when their mood may lift slightly.

Causes

There is no single cause for depression. Many different factors play a role in its development: for example, there may be a genetic predisposition, i.e., a family history of depression, but physical factors, mental tension, stress reactions, and trauma are also common triggers. All these factors can play a role in the development of depression, either individually or together, especially when several aspects come together simultaneously.

Additionally, there are several approaches in scientific research to explain depression. One of these approaches deals with neurochemical factors, i.e., the mechanisms of how information and feelings are processed in the human brain. It is assumed, for example, that there is a relative deficiency of several hormones or transmitter substances in the brains of those affected, with the theory referring primarily to norepinephrine and serotonin.

Another approach describes changes in depressive persons about the so-called circadian rhythm, i.e., how the daily rhythm of a person is represented with regard to his waking and sleeping phases, but also in relation to his hormone secretions. Thus, among other things, an early release of cortisol, sleep disturbances, or diurnal mood swings can often be found. Here, the lifestyle of modern society is assumed to be the cause. Hence, a circadian rhythm disturbance affects the development and maintenance of depressive symptoms via changes in the neurotransmitter system.

In this context, it can be stated that the factor (negative) stress, in particular, plays a decisive role in the disease depression. Thus, it can be assumed that in many people affected by depression, the stress load was acute and increased over a more extended period before the disease.

Diagnosis and therapy

Crucial for reliable diagnosis is a trusting relationship between doctor and patient. Many sufferers are ashamed of their supposed weakness and do not see their therapist until it is far too late. Yet they are by no means alone in their suffering: More than four million Germans are currently affected by depression. Alongside heart attacks and cancer, depression is one of the most common forms of illness. It is essential to recognize and treat depression at an early stage. The more severe the illness, the longer the suffering of those affected

Download “Depression” information

Do you suspect yourself of suffering from depression, or do you suspect that your partner or a family member is affected?

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