Depression is much more than being merely unhappy. It is a real disorder that affects millions of people. Depression affects the mood, body and thoughts and can lead to despair and suicide. Drops in neurotransmitter levels in the the brain, particularly the limbic system that controls emotions, are physical effects of this disease. Neurovegetative symptoms are common among many mood disorders and are prevalent in depressive mood disorder. Understanding symptoms can be the first step in getting someone the help needed to get his or her life on track.
Neurovegetative symptoms are symptoms leading to dissociation from society as a whole. Symptoms include physical, emotional and cognitive changes. When the symptoms combine as in depression, they work in unison to cause a further decline in the mental state of the patient. This downward spiral can be overlooked until the depression is in an extreme state. At least four of the following symptoms must be present for at least two weeks to merit a diagnosis of depression.
Sleep and Energy
A person might develop a sleep disorder, exhibiting symptoms of either an increase or decrease in sleep. This can lead to lethargy, though energy levels might have already dropped because of lower neurotransmitter levels, serotonin in particular.
Guilt and Interest Levels
Those suffering from depression will demonstrate a lack of interest in a variety of activities. Many patients will stop doing the things they love most, such as a favorite sport or hobby. Coupled with this is a strong sense of guilt and inadequacy. Patients will see themselves as worthless. Regret is a constant battle for those with depression.
Another neurovegetative symptom of depression is the inability to concentrate. This affects school and work as well as routine tasks such as going to the market and remembering what was needed. This can also make patients reckless. Driving a car and not concentrating can be dangerous for the patient and others. Suicidal tendencies can start with accidents resulting from worthlessness and lack of concentration. Unresolved, they can lead to suicidal thoughts discussed in Section 7.
Appetite disorders are one of the most common symptoms for depressed patients. They might stop eating and become anorexic or bulimic with binge and purge routines. The other end of the appetite disorder spectrum is to feed the depression and eat too much.
The body is affected at a chemical level in depression. Neurotransmitters are not being produced by the body in the quantities needed for ideal functioning. As a result, muscles and nerves don't receive the nutrients to maintain ideal health and functioning. This leads to aches and pains and problems with coordination and other motor skills. Psychomotor symptoms can also accentuate the decrease in desire for activities such as recreation, which would otherwise improve one's mood.
If a patient is diagnosed with depressive mood disorder based on suicidal thoughts, many of the other symptoms have more than likely been missed. It is important that a person who is suicidal be monitored until this symptom has been resolved.