WHAT IS DEPRESSION
We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Depression can feel like impeding doom or being in a dark tunnel you can’t get out of. Some people who are depressed, may not feel sad at all, they may feel nothing...just emptiness, lifeless and numb. Men in particular, may feel angry, aggressive or restless.
Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in the fact that it takes control of your day-to-day life. It interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes. Either insomnia or oversleeping.
Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone, gets on your nerves.
Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
http://www.ec-online.net/knowledge/articles/depressionguide.html (recognizing depression in the elderly)