Sadness and Depresssion exists on a continuum. We all have low days. That is normal. However, we believe clinical depression occurs when these low days become persistent and patient's experience additonal affective, biological and cognitive symptoms. When this occurs, we suspect changes in a one's seritonin, dopamine and noradrehnaline levels.
The symptoms of depression can be divided into the following three categories:
1. Affective symptoms:: decreased mood, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt
2. Biological symptoms: early morning wakening, decrease appetite, psychomotor slowing ie. monotonous/slow/delayed/decreased amount speech & decreased facial expressions OR psychomotor agitation ie. hand wringing.
3. Cognitive symptoms: decreased concentration, decreased memory, daily tasks take longer than normal, decreased self esteem, self harm or suicidal thoughts)
At times one's thoughts can become extremely dark. When this occurs. occasionally one's mind can start playing tricks on them and psychotic symptoms develop (delusions and hallucinations). Delusions are fixed, false beliefs out of keeping with a patient's culture. Hallucinations occur when one experiences a perception eg. voice or image, in the absence of an actual environmental stimuli.
Treatment for depression span three major categories.