Understanding your moods, as well as their causes and symptoms, will give you the knowledge needed to stand up and face the challenges in your life. The following lists are symptoms for depression, anxiety and stress. For additional information click here.
One of the most difficult and confusing aspects of depression is that the symptoms can crop up in so many areas, including mood, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, behavior, memory and concentration, and more. As you read through each of the statements below, think about whether it applies to you.
- I frequently feel tired or have low-energy
- I find myself getting angry, irritated, restless, or frustrated easily
- I think I’ve lost my sense of humor
- I find myself spending a lot of time at work as a way of avoiding doing other things
- I drink too much or abuse drugs or prescription medication
- I take unnecessary risks (such as driving too fast, extreme sports, or unprotected sex)
- I often feel ashamed
- I don’t take good care of myself or go to the health care provider even when I know there’s something wrong
- I lose my temper easily or have been verbally or physically abusive to someone close to me
- I get into a lot of arguments
- I have a history of broken relationships
- I can’t seem to stay at a job more than a year
- I have lost interest in people and things I used to enjoy (such as work, activities, friendships, and sex)
- I have sleep problems (either falling asleep, getting up early and not being able to get back to sleep, or oversleeping)
- I feel isolated and avoid spending time with family and friends
- I often feel completely overwhelmed by life
- I often feel guilty, that no one cares about me, or that life is worthless
- I have lost a lot of weight recently without trying
- I am frequently late to work, school, or appointments
- I frequently feel sad, emotionally empty, or just can’t bring myself to care about things
- I sometimes cry for no reason
- I think about death or killing myself
- I have trouble concentrating or remembering things
- I have trouble making decisions or choices
- People describe me as cold or aloof
- I have few or no close friends
- My children are afraid of me
- I have frequent headaches, chronic pain, or stomach trouble that doesn’t seem to ever go away and doesn’t respond to ordinary treatment.
If you answered “Yes” to more than three or four of the questions above, you may be suffering from depression and it’s important to get help. With treatment, most men can recover and feel like themselves again.
Following is a list of symptoms you may experience if you have one or more of the anxiety disorders we discussed above. If you have more than three or four on a regular basis, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
- Intense feelings of worry, fear, confusion, or nervousness that have lasted more than 2 months
- Frequent spells of apprehension, uneasiness, or dread
- Frequent feelings of self-consciousness or insecurity
- Fear that you are about to die, or that you are losing control or going crazy
- Fear that something terrible is going to happen
- Fear that you’ll have a panic attack
- A frequent—and very strong—desire to escape
- Avoiding social situations, or fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in public
- Difficulty concentrating, either generally or only in specific situations
- Shortness of breath
- Palpitations or pounding heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Frequent headaches, muscle tension, pain, or upset stomach that doesn’t respond to ordinary treatment
- Trembling, shaking, restlessness, jumpiness, twitches, or feeling on edge
- Dizziness, nausea, or queasiness
- Hot flashes or chills
- Cold and clammy hands
- Profuse sweating
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
Stress can cause a huge variety of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. When you’re dealing with acute, ongoing acute stress, or the early stages of post-traumatic stress, you may experience one or more minor symptoms such as:
- Stomach trouble, nausea, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Sleep issues – either too little or too much
But if you develop chronic stress or don’t get treatment for your post-traumatic stress, the symptoms may get progressively worse. These may include:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Unintended weight loss or gain
- Aches and pains that seem to have no particular cause
- Acne and other skin problems
- Hair loss
- Loss of interest in sex
- Excessive sweating
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Reduced immunity, which can result in infections and can aggravate conditions such as herpes, AIDS, and HIV
- Over reaction of your immune system, which can lead to asthma and psoriasis, or auto-immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Mood swings
- Feelings of anxiety, depression, or extreme frustration
- Feelings of apathy
- Feelings or guilt, shame, or of being helpless or out of control
- Poor self-esteem or a lack of confidence
- Feelings of failure
- Constantly second guessing yourself and questioning your own judgment
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Eating disorders
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Maladaptive behavior, such as drinking too much, smoking, eating unhealthy food, and not getting enough exercise
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory lapses, forgetfulness, or short-term memory loss
- Problems with relationships
- Poor performance at work
- Inability to manage time effectively
- Overreacting to minor irritants
If you have PTSD, your long-term symptoms may also include:
- Anti-social behavior. You may feel that you can’t trust other people, which could lead you to withdraw from friends or family, or cause relationship problems at home, school, or work.
- Intrusive symptoms, such as flashbacks and nightmares. These are often so vivid that it may feel like you’re going through the trauma again. You may feel as scared as you were when it actually happened. Instead of (or in addition to) flashbacks and nightmares, you may suddenly feel a wave of fear, panic, anger, or crying that comes completely out of the blue. Avoidance of activities and situations that remind you of the event or that you worry might remind you or trigger a flashback. For example, if you served in combat, you would probably try to stay away from anyplace where there might be loud noises.
- A constant agitated state, which may include elevated blood pressure, muscle tension, difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, sweating, and being easily startled.
- Emotional numbness. In an attempt to avoid remembering or reliving the event, people with PTSD often shut down their emotions—the good ones as well as the bad ones.
- High—and gradually increasing—risk of committing suicide.
- Having other mental health issues. About 80 percent of people with PTSD also suffer from depression and/or anxiety.
Adapted with permission from Men’s Health Network: Your Head: An Owner’s Manual. (PDF)