SIGECAPS Explained

SIGECAPS or SIG-E-CAPS is a popular mnemonic used to describe the eight signs of major depressive disorder (MDD). Major depressive disorder is also known as major depression, unipolar depression or clinical depression. It’s persistent low mood and self esteem or such episodes of two or more weeks, without a history of Manic, Mixed, or Hypomanic Episodes. When these episodes are accompanied, it’s a bipolar disorder and not MDD. 

The depressions in MDD doesn’t arise as a result of other psychosis, substance abuse, trauma or other medical conditions. SIGECAPS are the 8 below signs of Moderate depressive disorder. To diagnose MDD  at least 5 signs of SIGECAPS must be present for at least two weeks of duration.

  •  Sleep disturbance – Sleep disturbance may be in the form for increased or decreased sleep. Early morning wake up, late night sleeplessness, oversleeping, laziness or any of these may be associated.
  •  Interest reduced – Lack of interest leads to zero initiative and drive. Day to day life both at work and home suffers. Individual tends to pend anything and everything. Also sex drive is reduced.
  • Guilt sensation and worthlessness – This happens without any reason. Patient starts thinking that, whatever he did was all wrong and he has no personal value in the society. He starts avoiding contact with people and social atmosphere.
  • Energy loss and fatigue – Lack of energy is obvious and goes side by side with reduced interest. Easy fatigability without any physical disability is another sign.
  • Concentration problems – Fleeing of Ideas, lost look, disinterested attitude leads to loss of concentration. This causes memory issues and frequent forgetfulness.
  • Appetite – Appetite may be increased or decreased markedly.
  • Psychomotor – Psychomotor agitation or retardation may show up.  It involves a aggravated or slowing-down of thoughts and change of physical movements in an individual. Psychomotor retardation can cause a visible slowing of physical and emotional reactions, speech and affect.
  •  Suicidal tendency or Suicidity  –  At severe stages, frequently a MDD patient may have suicidal thoughts.  In the United States, around 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide and up to 60% of people who commit suicide had depression or another mood disorder.

So, SIGECAPS is just Sleep , Interest, Guilt, Energy, Concentration, Appetite, Psychomotor and Suicidity.

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