According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression, which is the main cause of disability. In the latest version of the Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM-5), some criteria are listed that can help clinicians or anyone doing their own research identify depression.
Some symptoms of depression include sleep disturbances, suicidal ideation, and low mood. If some of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is usually sufficient to diagnose major depressive disorder.
However, in addition to these common key features of depression, the disease can also manifest in other ways. These other manifestations of depressive episodes are equally real and can cause great pain to individuals. People who have experienced this kind of experience may also be confused.
Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known signs and symptoms of depression.
For some people, a particularly harmful and burdensome feature of depression is contemplation. The original meaning of the word describes animals called ruminants, such as dairy cows, which regurgitate and chew food, and repeat this cycle over and over again. The psychological equivalent is to relive and retell some unpleasant experiences.
For example, if during the last Zoom meeting, your colleague asked you a question that you were not prepared to answer. You will temporarily stammer before responding that you must reply to them. That night and the next few days, you will have vivid, intrusive thoughts, which you repeat in your mind over and over again.
The images of the event play repeatedly in your mind, like a horror movie you don’t want to watch. You keep thinking about different things you can do. Thinking of the painful moment being asked, you cringe and cringe. You may wish to stop relived that moment, but this seems unconscious. You will be troubled by these scenes.
For some people, this may last for several weeks. This is an unpleasant experience of contemplation.
Lack of motivation
Motivation drives our efforts and keeps us moving forward in life. During a depressive episode, a person may find that the motivation to spend the day is still beyond their fingertips. Lack of motivation means more than not being able to do big things, such as starting a new business. This may also mean that simple daily tasks cannot be completed. It can make brushing your teeth feel like a huge feat.
When depression makes you lose motivation, you may plan to buy some groceries. You know you need to get out, after all, you have almost nothing in your refrigerator, just a few packets of soy sauce and a problematic burrito.
You put on a shoe, then sit on the sofa and stare. Then you try to put on another shoe, but you cannot find your key immediately. You will be demoralized and will never go to the store.
This is a particularly harmful symptom of depression, because lifestyle changes, such as exercise, a balanced diet, and meditation practice, can help alleviate depression. However, if there is no motivation to transform good intentions into good behavior, frustrations to oneself rather than meaningful changes are the inevitable result.
Many patients are surprised when they recover from depression because they can wash, fold, and put away clothes on the same day.
Anger and irritability
There must be times in life where anger makes sense. However, in depression, the duration of anger exceeds the understanding of the situation and is also disproportionate. Expressed anger is associated with higher intensity depressive symptoms.
Anger is actually an important emotion. It can tell us that it is time to distance ourselves from a relationship or promote a social justice movement. On the other hand, for the person who cut you off in traffic three weeks ago, continued thoughts about what you want to do to him are less useful.
If you find yourself furious because your partner ate the last banana, or the barista misspelled your name on your coffee cup, this may be evidence of potential depression.
Although everyone may experience a range of different symptoms of depression, sleep disturbance is one of the more common experiences in this disease. This may include insomnia or the need for excessive sleep, also known as narcolepsy.
A less discussed subcategory of sleep disorders caused by depression is nightmares. In a study of members of the armed forces and veterans, up to 88% of participants with depression reported trauma-related nightmares. This is especially worrying given that the experience of repeated nightmares during depressive episodes is associated with an increase in suicide rates.
Difficult to make a decision
The process of making a choice involves weighing the potential risks and rewards of a particular course of action. In depression, a person tends to pay more attention to the possible negative consequences of any decision made, which may cause a person to be unable to choose anything. They may not understand the value or benefits of a given option.
In addition, decision-making involves confidence in your ability to appropriately weigh the pros and cons. This also means accepting the fact that you cannot fully know the outcome of your choice. Depression can deprive a person of self-reliance and self-confidence, and this is part of making the simplest choice.
Depression without sadness
Depression can occur without the emotional experience of sadness. One contribution to this may be that in some cultures, sadness is considered a weakness, so someone may subconsciously suppress it.
Believe it or not, you may not realize that you are sad. This may be especially true if you grew up in a family where your feelings have not been verified.
A good example is the children who grow up in such a family and they are told to “finish the meal” even if you are full. These people are more likely to struggle with overeating because they may be confused about whether they are full. When you were a child, the adults in your life were always right. They told you that you were not full. This confusion can be transformed into emotions of not being recognized or accepted. If you were told to “stop crying” as a child, you might agree with this.
Sadness does not always attract people’s attention, it is also true. Some people are willing to grieve and continue their lives. People often seek treatment for depression, not because of sadness, but because other symptoms of depression begin to interfere with their ability to function.
These symptoms include severe insomnia or mental confusion, which prevents them from working or studying. These symptoms will get someone’s attention and bring them to the psychiatrist’s couch.
The physical and mental relationship is not yet fully understood. We do know that if you are extremely anxious, it may cause your heart rate to increase. Or when you see someone you have a crush on, you will experience a butterfly in your belly, and your face will turn red. Therefore, your psychological experience can have physical manifestations.
In psychiatry, the general term for this is “somatic”, that is, the manifestation of psychological symptoms as a certain biological sensation. In depression, many people report physical pain. Some people may go to the doctor and see various experts, but they never find a sufficient explanation for their feelings. Of course, this can make patients and their healthcare providers feel very frustrated and confused.
Those who don’t understand their emotional feelings are more likely to have physical experiences. They did not experience their feelings completely emotionally, but experienced them physically. It is well known that depression reduces pain tolerance.
Very good sentence
Depression can negatively affect a person’s function, reduce the quality of life, and steal pleasure from life. How to express it may vary from person to person. Regardless of whether a depressive episode fully meets the DSM-5 criteria, it can still have devastating consequences, including suicide.
If you find that you or someone you care about has any of the above symptoms, it may be time for an evaluation by a mental health professional or your primary care doctor. You may benefit from a formal diagnosis and hearing some treatment options.