Signs of Depression
It is an acknowledged fact that more women suffer from depression than men. Most women are not aware of the signs of depression and hence, do not realize their state. In most cases when they do realize their condition, they are already in an advanced state of depression. However, there is hope. If women recognize the signs of depression it can be treated. Given below are details about signs of depression in women.
Signs of Depression
I. Physical signs
II. Emotional signs
III. Behavioral signs
I. Physical Symptoms of Depression
1. An increase or decrease in weight
Depression almost immediately affects appetite in women. Due to this they either eat less or eat more (more eating is a result of ‘comfort eating’ – seeking relief in food). Less appetite leads to weight loss and the reverse happens with over eating.
2. Disturbed sleep
Disturbed sleep is seen in different forms – less sleep, intermittent sleep or excessive sleeping. All these are signs of extreme depression. A tendency to worry disturbs women causing loss of sleep. They wake up suddenly due to disturbing thoughts. And they are not able to go back to sleep quickly. On the other hand, some women may feel excessively sleepy due to depression.
Signs of Depression
3. Exhaustion and fatigue
This can be either due to insufficient diet or insufficient sleep. A feeling of droopiness can also lead to exhaustion in women. The result is often disinterestedness in daily activities. Household chores become a burden.
4. Difficulty in concentrating as well as short term memory loss
Constantly worrying affects the ability to concentrate on something important or positive. This also causes confusion. And depressed women are left indecisive. Short term memory loss is related to this condition.
5. Visible physical discomfort
Sometimes depressed women tremble uncontrollably. This is also accompanied by sweating, palpitations and irregular breathing. Some physical gestures occur involuntarily and depressed women fail to recognise these gestures.
6. Irregular periods
Depressed women can sometimes miss their regular periods. Severe depression can disrupt and sometimes can stop periods in women.
This happens because depression disrupts the body’s normal functions. Constipation occurs when body’s bowel movement becomes irregular due to depression.
Depression related hallucinations are a result of the near constant state of anxiety in women. It can also be due to the need to derive comfort and feel safe.
9. Loss of interest in pleasure activities
A general lack of interest in pleasure activities happens when women have a negative feeling overriding their thoughts. This can also be due to a lack of concern or disinterestedness in personal hygiene. Husbands of depressed women may complain about the lack of interest in sex in depressed women. This can sometimes infuriate women who will then react adversely to such observations.
Emotional Signs of Depression
II. Emotional Symptoms of Depression
1. A feeling of sadness and miserable existence
A feeling of miserable existence takes over in depressed women and they always feel sad. They will not be able to say confidently what makes them sad. Sometimes the extreme sadness will force depressed women to weep.
2. Low or complete lack of self confidence
This arises from a negative attitude towards life and also due to a lack of interest in anything productive. A feeling of worthlessness takes over the thought process which makes women recluse and irresponsive.
3. Indifferent attitude
An indifferent attitude in depressed women is due to their feeling of misery and suspicion about themselves and others. This indifferent attitude reflects in the way depressed women go about their work.
There is often a ‘devastated’ feeling in depressed women. Due to this they often give up hope of any kind about revival in their lives. A thought like life has ceased to be meaningful, takes hold of their mind which forces them to further alienate themselves from their near and dear ones.
5. Exaggerated feeling of guilt and self criticism
A feeling of guilt takes over the mind of depressed women. This feeling can be based on a real incident or something imaginary. This sometime causes depressed women to act and behave apologetically. However they can sometimes be too apologetic to the point of annoying others. Depressed women often criticise themselves for various reasons. They constantly remind themselves that they could have done better and can often be seen chiding themselves for missed opportunities.
6. Inability to control anything
A low self esteem combined with a confused state of mind forces many depressed women into a state of anxiety. Due to this they are unable to decide what to do. When they do decide, they are unable to act accordingly
7. Feeling scared most of the time
Depressed women develop an unrealistic fear about something that can be either real or imaginary. Sometimes, depressed women start worrying about the future to such an extent, that they are paralyzed into inaction.
8. Reminiscing about the past
This is similar to a feeling of guilt. Except that women try to recall and relive the days gone past. An inability to correct the situation further complicates matters in women as it adds to their feeling of frustration. A negative attitude towards the future emerges as a result of this feeling.
9. Loss of interest in pleasure
Depression causes women to lose interest in activities that used to give them pleasure in the past. Some depressed women may altogether avoid those activities that use to be interesting. They will even refuse to go to places which were once attractive to them. Nothing will seem to appeal to their tastes.
Depressed women develop a pessimistic outlook towards life. Such a feeling can spread to their children or spouse. Pessimistic tendencies can later turn into anger and hatred.
11. Suicidal thoughts
This happens in severely depressed women. This can also happen to depressed women who live alone or does not have anyone for sympathy. The feeling of failure and distraught become so powerful that these women may want to end their lives.
Behavioral Signs of Depression
III. Behavioral Symptoms of Depression
1. Withdrawal and reclusive behaviour
Depressed women shy away from social interaction and even from their own families. They become a recluse and refuse anyone who tries to encourage them to interact. A feeling of antipathy also prevails in their minds.
A lack of desire to do something is visible in depressed women. This is clearly noticed by those who are around them. This often leads to clashes which further exacerbate the situation. This can also be a result of tiredness.
Depressed women find it difficult to set goals and work accordingly. Even finishing simple tasks which do not require deep planning become difficult. They begin to lose control and feel out of touch. They often leave tasks incomplete.
4. Inability to solve problems
The confused state of mind of depressed women makes them unable to solve even minor problems. They become vulnerable to the fear of failure as a result of this condition.
Objectivity and rational thinking suffer as a result of depressed mind. This puts them into an indecisive state of mind. And this clearly affects their ability to judge and decide. They may consider even the trivial issues as disasters.
In many societies around the world women are at a disadvantaged stratum of the society. Hence it is necessary that women realize that they are affected more severely than men and take steps to alleviate their problems. Modern well educated women should take steps to help other less privileged women to lead a better life by identifying these critical signs of depression.