How to recognize depression
More than five million people in Germany suffer from depression every year. Depressive moods such as winter depression are even more common. Too often, however, depression goes untreated because people with the condition don’t recognize or accept it as an illness.
Depression is more than a mood disorder. (Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / dpa / dpa-tmn)
Depression is still often underestimated or dismissed as a condition. It is a serious illness that changes life. A psychiatrist explains how to recognize depression.
The winter blues are common
Many people have a “blues” in the fall and winter. In other words, they are less motivated than usual. “They also say seasonal depression,” explains Professor Ulrich Hegerl of the Deutsche Depressionshilfe. It is usually not that serious and differs somewhat from actual depression in terms of symptoms.
Differences between true depression and winter depression
In typical, often very severe depression, people tend to lose weight because they no longer have an appetite. “They can’t fall asleep either, they are always tense.” With winter depression, things are a bit different – according to Hegerl, those affected tend to be hungrier and want to sleep more than usual. “They then sleep longer than it would be good for them.”
Depression changes your whole life
But how do those affected recognize a “real” depression? According to Hegerl, it is a disease that changes life. “Often you don’t recognize yourself anymore,” he says. They are often very active, responsible and motivated people who suffer from depression.
Depressed people are often petrified
“And then they don’t even have the strength to get up and brush their teeth,” Hegerl describes. “Or every phone call is a huge mountain.” People often notice that something very basic is going on here, according to the psychiatrist. Often they could no longer feel any feelings – sadness, for example. “You feel petrified.
Don’t try to blame the circumstances
The problem: those affected often blame themselves or blame themselves for the circumstances. “So often you have very obvious explanations, but most of them are not the real explanation,” Hegerl explains. The deciding factor is that you have a disposition for these diseases. As a result, those affected slip into this state over and over again.
For example, depression is somewhat more common among the unemployed. “Because people who repeatedly fall into depression lose their jobs more easily,” Hegerl says and adds: “Unemployment in itself does not get you down.”
It could be anyone
The expert also emphasizes: “It can affect anyone”. Women get sick about twice as often as men. It has something to do with biology and hormonal balance.
Professional help is essential
Most importantly, people with depression get professional help – their loved ones are also asked to motivate them. “You have to know,” Hegerl emphasizes: “Depression is a serious illness. If you have this diagnosis, you live an average of ten years less. It is not a disorder. (vb; source: dpa / tmn)
Further information can be found in the article: Depression – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment.
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasek
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.