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Author: Dr Olukemi AkanleConsultant Psychiatrist

If you or your loved one are experiencing symptoms that feel more severe than sadness, have been feeling down for a prolonged period without an identifiable trigger or have become withdrawn and are not doing things you enjoyed previously, it could be an indication you have a depressive illness.
Dr Olukemi Akanle

Depression symptoms

It’s not always clear as to whether you are experiencing normal sadness or indeed are showing signs of depression – often people with depression feel shame, embarrassment or feel they should be happier and therefore hide or downplay their feelings.

People with depression often hold back talking about their symptoms because they are worried others don’t understand what the problem might be or how they can be feeling depressed – making it even harder to seek help.

Knowing what is ‘normal’ for you and seeking help when things seem to be going wrong is the first step to getting things back on track. Through early intervention and treatment help is available and ensures the best chance of a full recovery.

I can’t fault the service that I have received, from the very moment I picked up the phone I spoke to someone who listened to me – it was easy to make appointments and within a few weeks I have the answers I was looking for

Libby, Milton Keynes


Emotional signs of depression

  • Low mood
  • Low self esteem
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • No enjoyment in life
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self harming behaviour
  • Tearfulness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Irritability, losing temper easily
  • Feeling of emptiness and hopelessness

Physical signs of depression

  • Change in appetite (either more or less)
  • Aches and pains
  • Stomach ache and constipation
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Finding it hard to fall to sleep
  • Waking up early in the morning
  • Changes to menstrual cycle
  • Restlessness (psychomotor agitation

Social signs of depression

  • Not doing well at work
  • Avoiding contact with friends
  • Not enjoying activities previously enjoyed
  • Having difficulties with friends and family

Male depression symptoms

Many of the symptoms of depression are the same for both women and men. There are some symptoms that are more common in men than in women, including:

  • Irritability
  • Sudden bursts of anger
  • Aggression
  • Using drugs and alcohol
  • Increased risk taking
  • Losing self-control

 

Men often experience different stigmas regarding mental health and as the signs of depression for a man may be different than those for a woman, it isn’t always clear whether a man has depression, or another condition like ADHD or personality issues.

It is perfectly normal to feel down or sad from time to time. There is usually a clear reason for feeling this way and your mood usually returns to normal after a brief period once things resolve. However, if you or your loved one are experiencing such symptoms that feel more severe than sadness or have low mood for long periods of time it is worth seeking help. You may also find you or a loved one is becoming withdrawn and losing interest in activities. All these could indicate a depressive illness. If a loved one starts expressing thoughts of self-harm or not thinking life is worth living, please seek help as soon as possible. Help is available and is always worth seeking.
MBBS, MRCPsych

Consultant Psychiatrist
London

Dr Olukemi Akanle is a knowledgeable Consultant Psychiatrist currently working for Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. She has a Medical Degree and is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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