Throughout our lifetimes, it is common to experience periods of intense sadness, grief, lack of motivation, or fatigue. These acute instances of feeling depressed can often be brought on by life changes and challenges and may mildly interfere with daily life for a short period of time.
When these feelings linger for longer than two weeks and severely impair us from living our typical lives, we might be experiencing major depressive disorder. It can be helpful to seek medical attention for depression screening and major depressive disorder treatment.
During a depression screening, you’ll be asked a series of questions to determine your depression symptoms. Signs and symptoms of depression can look different from person to person.
Common Depression Symptoms
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities that usually bring joy or pleasure
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss – loss of appetite or increased cravings
- Anxiety, restlessness, irritability
- Challenges concentrating or focusing
- Unexplained body aches such as back pain, headaches, stomach upset
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Slowed thinking, speech, or body movements
- Thoughts and/or plans of suicide
Some may experience only a few of these symptoms, while others may experience all of them. Depression manifests itself differently in all of us and depending on our lifestyles, genetics, and support systems, the degree to which we are impacted can vary greatly.
While depression symptoms can vary from person to person, depression signs in women can also vary from depression signs in men. There are multiple reasons why men and women are likely to express their depression differently.
Signs of depression in women might be increased emotionality, crying more often, and intense sadness. Signs of depression in men can differ for many reasons, the biggest perhaps being cultural norms, ie: it might be less “acceptable” for a man to cry than a woman, so men may express this sadness differently.
Common depression symptoms in men include:
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Sexual problems such as low libido or performance challenges
- Suicidal thoughts and/or attempts
- Engaging in high-risk activities including increased alcohol and/or drug consumption
Women may also experience these depression symptoms, but they are most common for men.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it can seem easy to downplay their severity or intensity. However, symptoms of depression and major depressive disorder are not to be taken lightly. Reaching out to a friend or healthcare provider can help you manage these symptoms and get to the root of the issue. Through depression screenings and the treatments that follow, many can return to their typical lives.
Depression screenings can be helpful tools for you and your healthcare provider to identify your depression symptoms, as well as treatment options down the road. . Typically, if you are wondering, “Do I have depression?” it is advisable to reach out to a provider regardless. Feeling reluctant to discuss these feelings is common and understandable.
There are also many who don’t have access to a healthcare provider or experience barriers to obtaining care. Reaching out to someone you can trust can be a powerful step, as well as getting in contact with free resources.
Treatment for depression and management of symptoms can include medication or therapy. Typically, treatment includes a combination of the two: taking medication while undergoing psychotherapy. Another common and highly effective treatment for depression is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).