Depression: general characteristics

Depression” is a word that we often use without knowing its precise meaning. The term “depression” is part of our colloquialism and is therefore banalized. It is used to describe very different conditions, ranging from a feeling of despondency to adversity, to “real” depression in the medical sense of the word: a serious disturbance of the spiritual life.

What is depression?

The term ” depression ” does not designate a specific or precise illness, but a whole range of conditions that affect both the body and the mind. “The depressive state ” can best be defined as a “disturbed state of mind” in which the person feels abnormally sad and experiences more or less pronounced pain. This can translate into physical complaints such as headaches or mental problems such as a general lack of zest for life.
The symptoms associated with these complaints are many and varied; we limit ourselves here to the most characteristic ones. They rarely all act together. However, when four of these symptoms are continuously present for a month, we are experiencing a “major depressive episode”.

Symptoms of depression

What the depressed person experiences, often before one or more objective symptoms of his depression manifest themselves, is a moral distress due to a sense of loss of values:

  • towards himself: he loses his self-confidence, his self-esteem and the notion of self-worth. He no longer considers himself capable of realizing what he used to be able to do.
  • versus reality: it seems difficult, complicated, unattainable to him. He considers himself lost in advance and feels every action is useless. He capitulates, no longer comes out and turns in on himself.
  • versus the future that seems hopeless and without outcome: he sees no solution to his problems and cannot imagine a positive future. He feels like the victim of an unjust existence.

symptoms of depression manifest :

  • anorexia (earthiness) with significant weight loss (without dieting) or, on the contrary, bulimia (gluttony) or increase in appetite and weight gain. In children under 6 years of age, growth delays compared to their peers must also be taken into account.
  • sleep disorders: either insomnia or insomnia, or hypersomnia or excessive need for sleep.
  • restlessness or psychomotor retardation (slowing of physical and mental functions).
  • loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, reduction in sexual activity.
  • loss of energy and constant fatigue.
  • reduced thinking and concentration.
  • feeling of unworthiness, self-blame , or excessive and inappropriate guilt.
  • thoughts of death, desire for death , suicidal tendencies .

Some people also exhibit feelings of anxiety, but these are not included among the symptoms officially recognized by medicine.