The symptoms of depression may vary from person to person. Some may show signs of extreme sadness while others may experience extreme fear.
It is also quite possible for some people to not show any direct signs of depression. Those who show some obvious depression signs may not be depressed at all.
One’s depression can sometimes be mistaken for sadness and vice versa. It is because most of the symptoms shown by a depressed patient are similar to that of someone who is sad.
It is thus not correct to judge someone by their behavior only. Doing so will result in misunderstanding and conflict and needs to be avoided at all costs.
What is depression?
Depression is defined as “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” – American Psychiatric Association.
The good news is that it is curable with the right efforts at the right time.
Depression might appear similar to the feeling of sadness. But it is completely different from sadness. It is a serious business and mustn’t be dealt with lightly.
There are many risks involved when it comes to long-term depression. They are:
- Sleep disorder,
- Heart disease,
- Unhealthy weight gain or loss,
- A weak immune system,
- Physical pain, etc.
One in every ten American adults says they have depression according to CDC. WHO estimates that roughly 350M people have depression globally.
Depression is in fact the most common serious brain disease in the United States affecting more than 23M Americans every year.
Depression can cause a feeling of sadness or loss of interest in activities.
It can cause varieties of physical and emotional problems if left untreated.
Depression may also decrease your ability to function at work and at home.
What are the causes of depression?
There are many risk factors for depression. Some of the most common depression causes include:
- Physical abuse,
- Death or loss of beloved ones,
- Major life events,
- Chronic diseases,
- Conflicts, etc.
Who is more at risk of suffering from depression?
While depression can affect anyone at any time, there are certain age groups who are more at risk.
- People aged 45 to 65 are more at risk of depression.
- Depression is twice as common in women compared to men.
- People suffering from some kinds of chronic pain.
- People with an abusive childhood are more at risk.
- Those who are anxious all the time are at risk.
How do you identify someone with depression?
The answer is simple i.e. take a closer look at their day-to-day lifestyle.
Closer observation can help to identify minor changes in their behavior that are not detectable otherwise.
Even the slightest of changes in their behavior may state their mental wellbeing.
Since depression is a byproduct of ill mentality. It is quite possible to identify and treat depression by observing one’s mental health.
Even so, most of the depressed patients go unnoticed and without treatment.
As a result, they are prone to ill thoughts and may develop suicidal thoughts over time.
When this happens, the person can no longer function as a proper social being.
At this point, their work-life, as well as their family relationship, is compromised.
Their only hope is to accept their illness and work to cure it with the help of professionals and loved ones.
List of Common Depression Symptoms
1. Feeling Detached is a Common Depression Symptom
Feeling detached and lonely is one of the most common depression symptoms.
People often feel the need to stay alone when they are mentally disturbed. It is the exact opposite of what normal people do.
Even introverts enjoy the company of someone they like and admire.
Spending quality with friends and family is what everyone likes the most.
So it is only natural for normal people to enjoy the company of other people and have fun together.
Only a person with mental disorders may find it annoying to hang out with others.
They may feel detached and lonely inside. They are no more comfortable hanging out with friends and family members.
You’ll often find them clinging to a corner with a long face on.
It is within expectations. Since a piece of their heart is missing causing their thoughts to stop at the very moment.
2. Fear is a Depression Symptom
Fear is another common symptom seen in people with some kind of mental illness.
There are different types of fears experienced by people with mental disorders.
Some people with depression disorder live in constant fear of being judged by others.
While others may fear rejection from someone they love and care about the most.
Their fear of rejection is so strong that they would rather stay locked up inside a dark room.
People with psychotic disorders fear that others might come to harm them.
They may sometimes hallucinate of things and people haunting them and shout in agony.
3. Talks Less Than Usual
Talking less than usual is one of the symptoms of depression.
Sudden silence can sometimes be the early sign of a brewing storm on the horizon.
In this case, a sudden silence may be a symptom of an emotional breakdown (depression).
A person experiencing an emotional breakdown often reacts by staying silent.
You will not hear a single word for quite some time even when you try to talk them out.
While it is common for people to remain silent when they are upset or sad. It is only temporary and does not last for more than an hour or two.
But if someone loses his/her interest in conversation altogether then it is a symptom of depression.
Although it might not appear serious at first, the situation could take a turn for the worse over time.
Try to involve them in conversation as much as possible. You might as well force them to talk if need be.
4. A Feeling of Hopelessness and Helplessness
Feeling hopeless is one of the symptoms of depression.
It is often seen in people suffering from a major depressive disorder.
People with a major depressive disorder often find themselves in a hopeless situation.
The feeling of helplessness in any situation is a sign that they are not their usual self anymore.
They lack the courage to overcome even the slightest of difficulties and give up.
Lack of motivation and loss of confidence makes them hopeless and helpless over time.
They are no more able to complete their everyday tasks and their quality of life gets compromised.
Some may even get suicidal thoughts from time to time. A few might actually give up and attempt suicide.
People suffering from major depressive disorder often see no hope and feel completely helpless.
Their thoughts are unclear and they cannot see or think right.
Even when help is by their side, they still feel helpless and experience complete despair.
Their chances of attempting suicide are significantly high.
The only logical way to deal with such a situation is to take help from a doctor as fast as possible.
You might as well contact the national suicide prevention lifeline for immediate help.
5. Change in The Sleeping Pattern is a Depression Symptom
Change in one’s sleeping pattern is one of the symptoms of depression.
People with some kind of mental health condition often experience sleeping difficulties.
Some may experience trouble initiating sleep. Others may find it difficult to stay asleep. A few may experience difficulty waking up in the morning.
The change in one’s sleeping pattern is however temporary and goes back to normal after some time.
But if the symptoms continue for over a year then you might be diagnosed with a persistent depressive disorder.
In most cases, the sleeping pattern alters. I.e. if someone originally loved to sleep a lot, he/she may start sleeping less and vice-versa.
Lack of sleep may adversely affect one’s health. As a result, they are more likely to develop other health complications.
Health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc. are common in people with a sleep disorder.
The sleeping pattern tells a lot about an individual’s personality.
A healthy person will most likely sleep and wake up at the exact same time.
It is possible because their mind is trained in such a way for so long that sleep comes to them naturally when its time.
A person thus only oversleeps or undersleeps when they are mentally disturbed.
The continuous thoughts popping within one’s mind may interfere with their sleep.
This is true whenever a person is under severe stress or under Depression.
Thus, watching over one’s sleep pattern could hint you of one emotional state(situation).
6. Substance Abuse is a Depression Symptom
Substance abuse is one of the symptoms of depression.
People with depression live a miserable life full of pain and suffering.
So they continuously seek ways to relieve their pain and suffering. Even if it is only temporary and does not last for long.
Some may find it difficult to cope up with the pain and lose their way.
They may find themselves abusing substances to forget the pain and suffering.
Substance abuse may provide them with temporary relief.
But since their pain and sufferings are permanent, they keep repeating their actions.
Studies have found that substance abuse is common in people with depression.
They are more likely to develop smoking and drinking as a habit and may never give up even after treatment.
7. Change in The Eating Pattern
Change in one’s eating pattern is one of the symptoms of depression.
It is observed that people eat according to their mood. Some people like eating when they are feeling low or stressed.
While others avoid eating altogether when their mood isn’t right.
Even so, there’s a constant eating pattern developed by individuals over time.
This pattern tends to stay constant most of the time and not fluctuate greatly even when they have a foul mood.
But when someone is under depression, things can turn out to be different.
Their eating pattern may fluctuate and the consistency is no more the same.
As a result, they may experience a sudden weight gain or sudden weight loss. Depending upon how much they love to eat when they experience a mood swing.
Changes in eating patterns may adversely affect their body weight.
Thus losing weight too soon or gaining weight too early may be the sign you are looking for.
8. Loss of Interest is a Depression Symptom
Loss of interest is a common depression symptom seen in people with major depression.
People suffering from major depressive disorder often lose interest in their pleasure activities.
Pleasure activities such as watching tv, playing games, hanging out with friends, etc. no more appeal to them.
They distance themselves from pleasure activities that they enjoyed in the past.
“Losing interest in one’s favorite past time activities is the very first sign of change that you may notice in people with mental health problems.” Institute of mental health.
The most justifiable explanation for this newfound behavior can be the change in their preferences.
They may have found something else that is more fascinating than their previous one.
If that’s the case then there’s nothing to worry about whatsoever.
But if it’s not the case then it is a possible sign of a bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is not the same as depression. But the symptoms are strikingly similar to that of depression.
Symptoms such as extremely low mood, foul mood, manic episodes, etc. are common in both.
9. Lack of Concentration at Work
Lack of concentration at work is one of the symptoms of depression.
One’s concentration is directly linked with the state of mind.
It can only be achieved when one’s mind is at complete peace and there are no disturbances whatsoever.
This is usually the case with healthy (mentally) people.
Mentally healthy people are able to clear their thoughts and can concentrate at work. Without any kinds of distractions between them and their work.
As a result, they can concentrate on their work and give their 100 percent while working.
But it is not the case with people who are emotionally challenged i.e. mentally ill.
The thought processing of emotionally challenged people is clouded most of the time.
Therefore, they cannot think clearly nor can they concentrate on their work.
People living with some kinds of depression disorder are no different.
Their mind is clouded most of the time and they cannot think right.
They also lack the motivation to work which may worsen their concentration even more. at work.
10. Lack of Self-Esteem is a Depression Symptom
Lack of self-esteem is one of the symptoms of depression.
Pessimism is the lack of belief in oneself and quitting stuff even before trying them out.
It is often accompanied by a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence.
A pessimist lacks the motivation to do anything and is dead certain that the outcome of an event is going to be against their favor.
So they insist on not trying them at all and quit even before trying once.
It is common for people to become pessimistic at times when odds get stacked against them.
But when someone gives up even while odds are in their favor remember there’s something odd going on.
Lack of self-esteem is a sign of depression. It may appear irrelevant at first but as time flies by, it soon takes the shape of despair.
An alteration of thought processing and sudden change in one’s mentality is a sign of poor mental health.
This is often the case when a person is going through an emotional breakdown. Or is suffering from some kind of mental health condition.
A person under depression may lack the self-esteem to do even the simplest of things.
They may blame themselves for the failure they are and start hating themselves.
They are more likely to address themselves as a complete failure and good-for-nothing person.
You might as well hear them babbling things that are out of the world and senseless.
This is a sign of them having no control over their own thought processing which is true in the case of depression.
11. Mood Swing is a Symptom of Depression
Mood swing is one of the symptoms of depression.
You might have encountered people having sudden mood swings every now and then.
Mood swing is very common in people who get irritated very easily. Even normal people experience mood swings from time to time.
Mood swing is like a passing wind that comes and goes all on its own and you have no control over it.
But if you practice meditation every day then you might gain some control over it over time.
Mood swings may occur in different ways and most of which we still don’t have an understanding of.
Women in particular experience slight to extreme mood swings from time to time.
They may experience mood swings especially when they are on their periods.
Change in their mood has something to do with the hormonal changes they experience when on periods.
In men’s case, things are a bit complicated.
Men may experience mood swings when they experience complications in work and relationships.
It is also possible for men to experience mood swings whenever they hear triggering words or phrases which in my case is “Don’t get angry.”
I find myself getting madder when someone tries to calm me with the above-mentioned phrase. And I still don’t know why or how this particular phrase makes my
Now coming to the point, people experience mood swings from time to time.
It is only natural to have a foul mood once in a while. But if someone experiences mood swings for a longer period of time, they might be a victim of a mood disorder.
There are many forms of a mood disorder including maniac disorder and clinical disorder.
They might sound all the same but are completely different.
12. Suicidal Tendency is a Symptom of Depression
Life is precious and if it’s yours then it is the most precious of all.
It is engraved in your mind and body (our genes) and you should do everything you probably can and more to keep it safe.
This is one reason why we are so afraid of death and run away from threats that may kill us instinctively.
At times when escape is impossible, we fight will all we have got and even more.
So why would one want to end their own life?
If giving up on living (killing oneself) makes any sense to you kindly go visit a psychiatrist.
You are in need of help and your thoughts need to get screened by an expert.
Giving up on living or trying to kill oneself is against human nature. natural.
Only an ill mind will think and act in such ways.
So if you still believe giving up on living is justified then you seriously need immediate help.
When a person starts fantasizing about their own death, they cannot be considered normal.
Unless he/she is a movie scriptwriter or a novelist working on a psycho-thriller project.
Idealizing how death will provide freedom is a symptom of major depressive disorder.
Depression Support Centers and Organizations
There are many organizations and websites dedicated to helping people with depression.
Some of the organizations and websites to seek help from include:
- Mental Health America,
- National Alliance on Mental Illness,
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
It is not necessary that a person who is a victim of depression will show all the above signs.
Some may only show signs such as loss of interest while others may show signs of fear and anxiety.
It is thus important that you try to get involved in a conversation with them to understand better.
Depression is not someone’s choice but rather a way of life that controls him/her instead.
You may feel that the person himself isn’t putting in any effort and you may be furious. But that is not the complete truth.
Remember depression can make the bravest of people feel vulnerable.
They have no control over their senses and their own body.
It is thus even more of a responsibility for you to take care of your family or friend who is going through depression