Depression is categorized as a persistent sad or “empty” mood which differs from typical sadness. With depression the sad and/or empty mood reaches a level that negatively interferes with daily life, both socially and in the familiar. This feeling may seem to appear for no reason or after a significant event. An individual with depression may feel "low" as if he had lost the taste for and the pleasure of living. Individuals tend to feel hopeless and helpless.
Reluctance and anhedonia: the individual loses motivation to participate in daily activities, most of the time he or she does not feel like doing anything (less energy).
Insomnia: the individual suffering from depression may experience altered sleeping patterns, he or she has difficulty falling asleep or may have insomnia at various times during the night. Other times hypersomnia (excessive sleep) can occur.
Abnormal thinking: Some people may imagine having diseases of all kinds; they may feel like failures, or have strong feelings of guilt and other times obsessions may arise. At times memory difficulties can occur along with feeling frequently distracted. He/she may find it difficult to make decisions and this decreases their performance at work.
Changes in appetite and weight: Some individuals lose appetite while other individuals who are depressed may overeat.
Loss of pleasure at work, in sports and games and other activities that previously were gratifying.
Suicidal thinking: Individuals may have an exaggerated preoccupation with death and/or nurture self-destructive feelings.
Treatment for depression depends on the severity of symptoms or the presence of other complicating factors.
Initially mild to moderate depression can be assessed by a physician and or mental health worker. A medical doctor may refer a patient for therapy. Persistent or worsening symptoms should be evaluated by a specialist in Psychotherapy and/or Psychiatry.
Most depressions can be treated on an outpatient basis. Those cases where individuals exhibit strong suicidal tendencies, those individuals showing a significant inability to maintain a normal life, and those requiring a differential diagnosis study and exhibiting other organic diseases, may be considered for hospitalization.
In many instances people are able to show improvements with therapy and at times anti-depressants may be prescribed. In those cases where medication is prescribed it is to be prescribed and controlled by a doctor of psychiatrist. It is important that the physician is familiar with the characteristics of depression to recommend the most suitable drug. Self-medication may lead to detrimental effects for an individual.