The symptoms of a depressive disorder can vary a lot from one person to another; therefore, not all patients have the same symptoms or appear with the same intensity.
Reduction in self-esteem or personal self-appraisal (compared to that present before the illness). This symptom is especially common in major depression (to a lesser extent in dysthymia and in adjustment disorder).
Reduction in the capacity to enjoy (the exposure to usual interests do not lead to a temporary improvement in their mood). This symptom is especially common in major depression (to a lesser extent in dysthymia and in adjustment disorder).
The mood state is characterised by a feeling of dissatisfaction, feeling of incompetence, neglect, and despondency. This symptom is especially common in dysthymia (to a lesser extent in major depression and in adjustment disorder).
Reduction in motivation with the consequent tendency to the reduction in activity. Previously pleasurable people and activities now do not produce hope or they do to a lesser extent.
Reduction in the ability to concentrate. The person describes it as difficulty to think, difficulty to pay attention, difficulty to understand what is read or what is heard, and/or difficulty to memorise.
Pessimistic thoughts, with a tendency to believe that it is not possible to change the course of things (thought of incurability and of despair).
Thoughts related to death, either in the form of “it would be better to be dead”, or “I hope I will not wake up”, or thinking and planning the method for ending life.
Repetitive thought. Tendency to spend many hours of the day going over and over questions or feelings that preoccupy them.
Increase in irritability with the feeling of easily losing control.
Affective lability (sudden changes in mood) or tendency to cry easily.
Changes in appetite and weight. Frequent loss of appetite and weight. Sometimes the opposite happens, the individual may refer to an increase in appetite or compulsive ingestion of high calorie foods as a form of reducing anxiety.
Insomnia. It can manifest as difficulty in falling asleep, as frequent awakenings, as overall insomnia, or as hours of chaotic sleep.
Physical symptoms. Two of the most common physical complaints are: headache, particularly in the area in front and at the back of the eyes, like a pressure from inside to outside (as if a balloon was swelling up inside the brain) and gastrointestinal discomfort, in particular, sensation of a knot or pressure in the stomach or neck area.
Anxiety in the form of worry or fear. The patient may refer to an undefined constant fear, as if something negative could happen at any time, remaining in constant alert against an unspecific threat.
As a result of this group of possible symptoms, the person with a depressive disorder usually tends towards apathy, a reduction in social activity, and the avoidance or postponement of making decisions.