Depression affects people in different ways, but is more than just ‘feeling down’ for a short while.3 Due to chemical changes in the brain, these symptoms may persist for weeks, months or years. Depression manifests as a combination of three symptom groups: emotional, cognitive and physical.
Emotional symptoms -The emotional symptoms such as sadness, feelings of hopelessness and anxiety are perhaps those traditionally most associated with depression.1 Physical symptoms - Physical symptoms of depression are wide ranging and can involve problems with sleep, appetite and weight, sexual dysfunction and headaches; all of which are highly distressing for patients.1
Cognitive symptoms - Cognitive symptoms affect attention, memory, and decision-making, which can have particular negative consequences on daily functioning, affecting work or educational performance.2 Research has also noted that cognitive symptoms, such as trouble concentrating, or indecisiveness, appear up to 94% of the time during depressive episodes.4 Even in patients thought to be in remission, cognitive symptoms were present in depressed patients for an average of 39−44% of the time during periods of remission.4
At its most serious, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.