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It is not uncommon for someone to feel sad or blue occasionally, but the feelings of sadness typically only last a couple of days. However, when someone is experiencing a depressive disorder, the symptoms begin to interfere with normal daily function and may cause physical pain. Depression is a common as well as serious illness. Although the signs and symptoms of a depressive disorder may be similar, they are not always the same for everyone who is depressed. The following are the top ten signs of depression. The frequency, severity, and/or length of time the symptoms last will vary among the individual.
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Feelings of Sadness or Unhappiness
Someone who is depressed will experience overwhelming feelings of sadness and/or unhappiness. They may feel as though they will never find happiness, experience long periods of crying, and have extreme difficulties finding a way to overcome the sadness.
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Loss of Interest in Daily Activities
A person with a depressive disorder will lose the ability to feel pleasure or joy and will eventually lose interest in all of the previously enjoyed hobbies and social activities. They may lose interest in sexual activity as well.
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Sleeping patterns will change dramatically and can either include insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping). If insomnia occurs, the person may only sleep for minutes at a time, wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep, or they may not sleep for days at a time. When hypersomnia occurs the person may have difficulties waking up to an alarm or they may sleep for days only to wake for a few minutes before fall back asleep.
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Feelings of Helplessness and Hopelessness
The future outlook is miserable for someone who is depressed. The person feels as though there is nothing that can change their situation and nothing in their life will ever get better.
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Loss of Energy
The person will feel sluggish, extremely fatigued and physically drained. They will feel as though their entire body is to heavy to lift, will be unable to complete the smallest of tasks and feel as though they have exhausted all energy.
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Appetite and/or Weight Changes
Someone with clinical depression will have a significant change in eating habits. The person may either stop eating altogether or they may eat continuously. They will have either a significant amount of weight loss or weight gain.
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Unexplained Aches and Pains
The individual will have an increase of physical complaints that is not related to any other medical condition. Physical complaints may include back pain, stomach pain, headaches, and aching muscles.
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Irritability or Restlessness
Agitation and restlessness are common signs of depression and the person will have a very low tolerance level. They may complain about noise and activity around them that would not typically be disturbing.
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Someone who is depressed may have difficulties focusing, remembering things and/or making decisions. For example, a student who is normally spends hours studying for an exam may suddenly be unable to concentrate for longer than a few minutes at a time and will not be able to retain any information they have just learned.,
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Self-Loathing & Feelings of Suicide
Depression promotes extreme feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt. The person may criticize themselves very harshly for simple mistakes. Of the top ten signs of depression, suicide is the most severe. Someone suffering with a depressive disorder will often feel so guilty, hopeless and worthless that they feel the only way to get over the pain, is through suicide. The person may talk about death, fantasize about dying or attempt suicide.
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Mayo Clinic: Depression Symptoms http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=symptoms
National Institute of Mental Health: Depression http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml