While it is common and natural to feel low from time to time, depression causes feelings of hopelessness and sadness for prolonged times in individuals which makes it hard for them to function. The severity of depression, although, differs from person to person and can be classified into three primary categories:
An individual with mild depression will have a low mood and various other symptoms of depression which are not as intense. Many people with mild depression are able to manage these symptoms with a minor effect on their social and professional lives.
An individual with mild depression may experience
- low mood or feeling sad
- change in appetite
- change in sleeping patterns
- reduce energy levels
- difficulty concentrating
Because these symptoms are not as intense, it may get difficult to identify them on time which might take a toll on the individual. If you feel your symptoms getting worse, it is best to seek help.
Moderate depression has the same symptoms as mild depression but with a little more intensity. An individual with moderate depression might also experience some somatic symptoms like pain in the stomach or the back, or headaches, and even diarrhoea. The term somatic refers to bodily sensations that are perceived as being unpleasant and worrisome.
An individual with severe depression might experience all the symptoms in mild/moderate depression and these symptoms are accompanied by a loss of interest in pleasurable activities. These symptoms have a strong effect on the individual, so much so that they are unable to function or think properly.
Individuals with severe depression are also more likely to experience feelings of worthlessness and recurring thoughts of death.
There are many ways one can cope with depression, all depending on how severe it is. Individuals with mild to moderate depression might find support groups and just therapy beneficial, while medication may be necessary for those with severe depression. Other tips for coping with depression include regular exercise, healthy sleeping and eating habits, and a strong support system.