Common Characteristics of Major Depression
The common characteristics of major depression include thoughts and behaviors that have lasted almost constantly for a period of two weeks or more. A sudden loss of interest in hobbies, activities, or social events that were previously enjoyed by the individual is a very common characteristic. Individuals often describe this as a feeling of numbness or detachment. Friends and family might also notice the individual separating from others, giving away items that were once meaningful, and rarely laughing.
Fatigue, irritability, and the feeling of just "not being good enough" tend to accompany feelings of hopelessness or despair. While energy levels frequently drop with major depression, irritability of the individual seems to increase. It is common for a patient to over-react or snap over petty things. Unplanned significant weight loss or weight gain, often due to anxiety related to the depression, or loss of appetite, is an important characteristic to be aware of in conjunction with other characteristics, since it is often mistaken for simply a change in diet or activity level.
Often an individual suffering from major depression displays feelings of misplaced guilt or worthlessness. Feeling as if one is to blame or is at fault can increase the intensity of this characteristic. This characteristic of major depression is often noted when the individual has suffered abuse or trauma.
Other characteristics include a posture that is commonly described as being slouched or bent with the head pointed downward. Lack of eye contact and minimal or sluggish movement is also noticed in some individuals.