Everyone feels sad or down sometimes, but those feelings usually are fleeting. Other times, it may be more challenging to cope, and you may begin to show signs of depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that affects how you feel and think and can impact your daily routine.
There are different symptoms of depression that can vary by the person, and some are more common than others.
Knowing these 10 signs of depression can help you identify when you or a loved one needs help.
1.Persistent Sad, Anxious, or “Empty” Mood
Everyone feels sad or anxious sometimes. If you feel sad or anxious more often than not, these feelings could be signs of depression. People with depression also tend to feel empty. This feeling of emptiness might manifest as loneliness or a sense that you lack purpose.
2. Feelings of Hopelessness, Helplessness, or Worthlessness
When a person feels hopeless, it’s as if there is no foreseeable end to their feelings.
Someone who feels helpless may think no one can help them, and they will always feel depressed.
When you feel worthless, you may think there’s no meaning to your life. You may feel like a burden to others or that your family would be better off without you.
All of these are common feelings when going through depression. The good news is that it isn’t hopeless, you aren’t helpless, and you most definitely have worth.
3. Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Hobbies and Activities
People with depression tend to lose interest in the things they used to enjoy. Things like hobbies, activities, music, sports, going out with friends, and even sex. They may turn down opportunities to spend time with others, including family and friends, and may miss important opportunities at work or school.
4. Decreased Energy, Fatigue, or Speaking or Moving More Slowly
Sometimes people with depression have a hard time getting up in the morning because they feel worn out. They lack the energy to do everyday tasks like cooking and going to work. They may spend a lot of time sleeping. Speaking more slowly than usual also is common. Some men show few outward signs of depression other than slowed speech, so this can be an important sign to look for.
5. Difficulty Concentrating, Remembering, or Making Decisions
Depression can impair cognitive abilities. You may find yourself forgetting appointments and plans you made. You may forget things you said or did recently. When depressed, it can be difficult to focus or concentrate on personal or professional issues. It may also be hard to make decisions, and even small everyday choices may be difficult.
6. Difficulty Sleeping, Early-Morning Awakening, or Oversleeping
Many people with depression experience insomnia, which is difficulty falling asleep. They also may have trouble staying asleep. They might stay up late or wake up early in the morning. Because people with depression often feel fatigued or tired all the time, they tend to oversleep as well.
7. Appetite or Weight Changes
Changes in appetite are also common with depression. Some people may lose their appetite or have little interest in food, leading to weight loss.
Other people may eat more when depressed. This increased appetite can be to gain comfort when experiencing negative emotions or cope with boredom or feelings of loneliness. They also may feel less motivated to exercise, and the combination of more food and less movement can lead to weight gain.
When you have depression, you may become easily irritated or annoyed and may appear to be angry. Some of this irritability can be due to other symptoms of depression, like not sleeping well. Men are more likely than women and children to become angry and irritable when depressed, but irritability can be a sign of depression for anyone.
9. Aches or Pains, Headaches, Cramps, or Digestive Problems
People with depression may have physical symptoms that appear to have no cause and don’t seem to respond to treatment. These symptoms can include:
- muscle pain
- stomach aches
- breast tenderness
- a compromised immune system
- sexual health problems
People who are depressed also have an increased risk for heart disease due to eating poorly and not getting enough exercise.
10. Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Depressed people may think about death and dying more than someone who is not depressed. They also may think about ending their life by suicide, otherwise known as suicidal ideation. People with severe depression may also engage in self-harm behaviors.
Not everyone who thinks about suicide will attempt it, but you should always take it seriously. If you think a friend or family member may be at immediate risk for self-harm, suicide, or hurting someone else, call 9-1-1. Stay with the person until help arrives, remove access to anything they might use to hurt themself (weapons, medications, etc.), and listen to them without judgment.
Treatments for Signs of Depression
Mental health professionals treat depression with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Antidepressants begin working in two to four weeks and can help you to feel better quickly while working through the root of the depression in therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the best evidence-based treatments for depression, but other therapies may be suitable for you.
- Adventure Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Equine Therapy
Healthline. 9 Depression Symptoms to Look Out For. 2021.
Medicalnewstoday.com. 13 common signs and symptoms of depression. 2021.
Nimh.nih.gov. NIMH » Depression. n.d.