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Depression can be identified by the initial presence, and in low intensity, of symptoms such as lack of energy and drowsiness during the day, for a period longer than 2 consecutive weeks.
However, the number of symptoms increases and intensifies over time, causing social disability and making the classic symptoms of depression more evident, such as:
- Unwillingness to perform activities that gave pleasure;
- Lack of energy and constant tiredness;
- Feeling of emptiness or sadness;
- Irritability and slowness;
- Body pain and changes;
- Sleep problems and weight changes;
- Loss of appetite;
- Lack of concentration;
- Thoughts of death and suicide;
- Alcohol and drug abuse.
If this disease is suspected, it is recommended to look for a general practitioner, as laboratory tests will be necessary to rule out any organic disease. From there, the person will be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist who will start a detailed evaluation to confirm the diagnosis and guide the appropriate treatment. See how the diagnosis of depression is confirmed and how the treatment is done.
Key characteristics in each stage of life
Although the classic symptoms of depression are present at any age, there are characteristics that can vary according to each stage of life:
1. Childhood depression
Depression in children can be the most difficult to recognize, as signs of social isolation are easily confused with tantrums and shyness.However, characteristic signs such as bed wetting, aggression and learning difficulties can help in the diagnosis.
Therefore, if these symptoms are present, it is important that parents report a change in the child's behavior to the pediatrician, who will specifically assess the clinical picture, to confirm whether it really is depression or another type of change, such as anxiety or hyperactivity, for example, so that, if necessary, the child can be taken to a specialist, such as a child psychologist or psychiatrist, for appropriate treatment.
See how childhood depression is treated.
2. Teenage depression
The specific signs that indicate depression at this stage, in addition to the classic symptoms, are constant irritability, memory failure, lack of self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness, in addition to the classic symptoms.
However, changes in behavior and mood are common in adolescence, as it is the phase with the most hormonal changes during life.However, depression in adolescence can be triggered by several situations, such as drug and alcohol consumption and family history of depression, for example, in addition to the environmental factor that can cause excessive demands and generate doubts.
Therefore, it is important that, in case of suspicion, the psychiatrist is sought to make the correct diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment, as the worsening of depression in adolescence is associated with alcohol and drug abuse in adult life, factors that can compromise a person's he alth and quality of life.
3. Depression in pregnancy or postpartum
Mood variation in this period is normal and a result of hormonal changes common in pregnancy or postpartum and can be characterized by changes in mood, anxiety and sadness, which can lead to disinterest in pregnancy and lack of interest in baby after birth.
However, if the depressed mood is persistent and lasts for more than 1 month during pregnancy and in the 4 or 6 weeks or 3 to 4 months after the baby is born, it should be reported to the obstetrician accompanying the pregnancy or puerperium, so that the most appropriate professional to monitor the treatment is indicated.See the online test that can help you know if it's postpartum depression.
Usually depression in pregnancy or postpartum can arise in cases where financial insecurity, fear, indecision and social and personal pressure are present, in addition to a traumatic experience during labor.
4. Depression in the elderly
Depression in the elderly can arise from hormonal and environmental factors, however, it is still of unknown causes. The characteristic symptoms of this stage of life are self-neglect such as not wanting to shower, not taking routine medication if any, and skipping meals, along with all the classic symptoms.
In addition, when left untreated, depression in the elderly can have serious he alth consequences, such as loss of autonomy to perform activities, memory changes, social isolation, in addition to favoring the worsening of diseases.
Therefore, if there is suspicion of depression in the elderly, it is recommended to look for a geriatrician, so that the necessary exams are carried out and the appropriate treatment initiated.