Content-related criteria:

  • Feelings of sadness, dejection, and hopelessness

  • Persistence of lack of interest and joyless or the feeling of inner emptiness, even when nice events occur

  • Physical complaints such as physical exhaustion or inexplicable fatigue

  • Loss of appetite and weight (less often weight gain)

  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up early in the morning

  • Slowing down, paralyzing inhibition, listlessness or, less often, agonizing restlessness, fear and excitement

  • Lack or loss of sexual interest

  • Memory or concentration disorders or difficulty making small everyday decisions

  • poor self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, self-blame and blame, feelings of guilt

  • Thoughts of death up to fatigue and concrete suicide plans

Time criterion:

These complaints must have been present almost continuously for more than two weeks.

Questions that help identify depression.

  • Can you still be happy?

  • Do you feel mentally and physically miserable, especially for no good reason?

  • Do you find it difficult to make decisions?

  • Have you lost interest in things that previously meant a lot to you?

  • Do you tend to brood more?

  • Are you tormented by the feeling that your life has become meaningless?

  • Do you feel tired, lackluster, exhausted – especially even without a corresponding strain?

  • Are you suddenly insecure, perplexed, afraid, even though this is not your way?

  • Can’t you sleep anymore?

  • Do you suddenly feel pressure, paresthesia, pain, especially in the head, chest, stomach or back area?

  • Have you lost your appetite and / or lost weight?

  • Has your sexual activity decreased?

If you notice symptoms of depression, it is important:

Do not make any personal or professional decisions in depression

In depression the ability to clearly and realistically perceive and assess living conditions or stress is limited. In this respect, the consequences and decisions that you want to draw are based on imprecise foundations. It is therefore very advisable to make fundamental decisions – such as quitting the job because you no longer consider yourself capable or separating from your partner because you no longer feel love and lust and no longer want to be a burden to the other person or the sale of property because you don’t need it any more and it just puts a strain on it – waiting for the depression to subside.

Clarify physical causes of depressive symptoms

Make sure to visit the specialist to rule out serious illnesses. Possible causes are, for example:

  • Diseases of the nervous system and brain: dementia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral circulatory disorders, meningitis

  • Hormonal system disorders: thyroid dysfunction, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease

  • Infectious diseases: tuberculosis, AIDS, pneumonia

  • Diseases of the internal organs: cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, deficiency diseases (vitamin and mineral deficiency)

How do I deal with relatives who suffer from depression?

Basic rules for dealing with people with depression

Give the other person the feeling of being allowed to speak about their thoughts.

Persuasion doesn’t help, just realizing that some of the small steps have been successful. It is helpful to keep a daily and weekly plan on which these activities are recorded and the slow increase over time becomes clear.

The usually beneficial variety during a vacation or a cure can massively overwhelm the depressed person. Especially when he or she notices how others can relax and you are still completely closed and cannot feel anything. This then tends to lead to increased hopelessness.

Intellectual reasoning does not help with entrenched depressive beliefs such as “I am totally impoverished”, “I will never get well again”, “I am terminally ill”, “I am unhappy for everyone around me”. This is more likely to cause those affected to close themselves off. You can set your own convictions against it without denying the sick person his perception and fear. Sometimes it can be comforting to make it clear that these thoughts, unfortunately, typically belong to a depression like the pain to a broken leg, but just like the pain from a broken leg, they subside again when the depression heals.