There are several types of depression, and the symptoms vary among individuals.
Although anyone can experience some of these symptoms from time to time, a doctor will only diagnose depression when a certain cluster of symptoms appears and persist for 2 weeks or longer.
1. Feeling sad or empty
Mood changes are one of the most common symptoms of depression. A person who has depression may feel sad or low for extended periods.
They may also say that they feel “empty” or unable to feel happiness. Some people may describe this feeling as despair or melancholy.
2. Feeling hopeless or helpless
Depression can make people feel hopeless because there is no foreseeable end to how they are feeling.
A person may also feel helpless. They may say or think that no one can help them get better and that they will always feel depressed.
3. Feeling worthless
A person with depression may feel as though they are worthless or their life has no meaning.
They may also believe that they are a burden to others and that the world or their family is better off without them. If a person has these feelings alongside suicidal thoughts, they should seek emergency help.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
Click here for more links and local resources.
4. Feeling excessively guilty
Guilt is a normal reaction after a person says or does something that they regret, but people with depression may have ongoing feelings of guilt for no reason. They may focus a lot of energy on this guilt and feel bad about themselves and things that they have said or done — even events that have long since passed.
5. No interest or pleasure in activities
Some people with depression lose interest in things or activities that they used to enjoy. These can include sports, hobbies, going out with friends, music, or sexual activity. They may turn down offers to do activities or be with others, and they may not want to do things they used to like doing.
This inability to feel pleasure during previously pleasurable activities is also known as anhedonia.
6. Anger and irritability
A person with depression may seem to be angry with others. They may become easily annoyed and irritated.
Children and adolescents are
Other depression symptoms can indirectly cause irritability. For example, if a person is not sleeping well and feels tired, they may be more prone to irritability.
7. Feeling tired and having a lack of energy
Some people with depression may find it hard to get up in the morning because they feel exhausted and run down. They may feel too fatigued to do everyday tasks, such as going to work and cooking meals. As a result, they may spend a lot of time at home resting or sleeping.
The fatigue of depression can make a person feel as though they are always tired, even if they are getting enough sleep. However, sleep disturbances are also a symptom of depression, and a person who experiences these can feel even more tired.
8. Insomnia or lack of sleep
Sleep disturbances are a primary symptom of depression, and
Sometimes, a person with depression may be unable to sleep well and have trouble falling and staying asleep. They may stay up very late at night or wake up very early in the morning.
9. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
Depression can interfere with a person’s cognitive abilities. They may have trouble focusing or concentrating on personal or professional matters. Additionally, they may find it difficult to make decisions, even those involving seemingly minor, everyday choices.
People with depression may also find that they cannot remember things as well as they did previously. They might forget appointments or commitments and not recall things that they said or did recently.
10. Lack of appetite
People with depression may lose their desire and appetite for food, which can cause weight loss. They may have little interest in eating and go for long periods without food.
11. Overeating and weight gain
Conversely, some people with depression may eat more than usual. For some individuals, food can be a comfort mechanism for negative feelings and a way to deal with boredom or loneliness.
Depression can make it difficult for people to feel motivated to get outside or exercise. Combined with an increase in food intake, this can cause weight gain.
12. Aches, pains, and physical symptoms
A person with depression may experience persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment. These include:
- digestive disorders
- unexplained aches and pains
Learn more about how depression can affect the body.
13. Trouble ‘switching off’ the brain
People with depression may have persistent negative thoughts that they find it hard to stop. They may find it difficult to control their worry.
14. Thoughts of death or suicide
A person with depression may think more about death and dying. They may also think about suicide and how they could end their life. The term for this is
Sometimes, a person may tell others about these thoughts. If someone is talking about death or suicide, this could be their way of asking for help, and it is vital to seek assistance right away.
Depression is a common but serious condition that can be life threatening. Not every person who thinks about suicide will attempt it. However, if someone mentions suicide, it is important either to contact a doctor or to help the person seek urgent medical care.
Having just one of the symptoms above does not mean that a person has depression. For instance, other health issues and some medications can cause weight gain or insomnia.
However, people who have multiple symptoms and are concerned about depression should contact a doctor to discuss their mental health.
There is no single test that can diagnose depression. Usually, a medical professional will evaluate a person’s symptoms and their personal and family medical history to make a diagnosis. They may also use specialized questionnaires and screening tools.
Many people with depression use therapy, medication, or both to manage the symptoms. It is important to go to scheduled appointments and take medications as the doctor prescribes them.
Treatment can take time, and a person may not feel better straight away. Antidepressants can take
Some people with depression find that the following measures can help them manage their symptoms:
- spending time with supportive friends or loved ones
- avoiding alcohol and illegal drugs
- trying stress management techniques
- breaking significant tasks down into smaller ones
If a friend or loved one is showing symptoms of depression, a person can help by:
- asking them to contact a doctor
- helping them make an appointment
- offering support, understanding, and validation
- continuing to invite them to events and outings
- reducing stressors at home or work, where possible
- helping them eat nutritious meals
- spending time with them outdoors
Learn more about how to help a partner with depression.
If a person suspects that they may have depression, they should contact a doctor. Effective treatment can manage the symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.
Resources are also available to help people find medical care for mental health conditions. These include:
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
People can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Those who feel more comfortable communicating online or do not have access to a phone can use the online chat feature instead.
Depression is a treatable mental health condition that can cause a range of symptoms.
Anyone who is concerned that they or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression should speak with a doctor as soon as possible. Proper care for depression can significantly improve quality of life and even be lifesaving.
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions.
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness.
- Pessimism and hopelessness.
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much.
- Crankiness or irritability.
- Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex.
- continuous low mood or sadness.
- feeling hopeless and helpless.
- having low self-esteem.
- feeling tearful.
- feeling guilt-ridden.
- feeling irritable and intolerant of others.
- having no motivation or interest in things.
- finding it difficult to make decisions.
- Hopeless outlook.
- Lost interest.
- Irritability in men.
- Appetite changes.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Stressful events. Most people take time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown. ...
- Personality. ...
- Family history. ...
- Giving birth. ...
- Loneliness. ...
- Alcohol and drugs. ...
The 3 D's: Delirium, Depression & Dementia | St. Charles Health.What is the most common effect of depression? ›
Hopeless outlook. Major depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about life in general. Having a hopeless or helpless outlook on your life is the most common symptom of depression. Other feelings may be worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt.What are two common symptoms of major depression? ›
- Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
- Loss of interest in almost all activities.
- Appetite and weight changes.
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as inability to sleep or sleeping too much.
But clinical depression is marked by a depressed mood most of the day, sometimes particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships -- symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks.What are the 10 early warning signs of mental health problems? ›
- Feeling sad or down.
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate.
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt.
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows.
- Withdrawal from friends and activities.
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping.
Feelings of anxiety or hopelessness. Feelings of guilt, emptiness, or worthlessness. Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
During a depressive episode, a person will typically experience low or depressed mood and/or loss of interest in most activities, as well as a number of other symptoms of depression, such as tiredness, changes in appetite, feelings of worthlessness and recurrent thoughts of death.What are the six main facts of depression? ›
- Depressed mood.
- Loss of pleasure in all or most activities.
- Significant weight change or change in appetite.
- Change in sleep.
- Change in activity.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Diminished concentration.
- Depressive Episode. A single depressive episode is the most common form of depression. ...
- Recurrent Depression. ...
- Atypical Depression. ...
- Dysthymia. ...
- Bipolar Disorder. ...
- Psychotic Depression. ...
- Seasonal Affective Disorder. ...
- Postpartum Depression.
- Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
- Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
- Being easily irritated or frustrated.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Changes in how much you sleep.
- Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
- childhood experiences.
- life events.
- other mental health problems.
- physical health problems.
- genetic inheritance.
- medication, recreational drugs and alcohol.
- sleep, diet and exercise.
Depression causes the hippocampus to raise its cortisol levels, impeding the development of neurons in your brain. The shrinkage of brain circuits is closely connected to the reduction of the affected part's function. While other cerebral areas shrink due to high levels of cortisol, the amygdala enlarges.What is the highest form of depression? ›
Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.What are the four levels of depression? ›
Types of major depression include melancholia, psychotic and antenatal or postnatal. You may be diagnosed with mild, moderate or severe depression.At what point is depression considered? ›
Depression Symptoms. According to the DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorders, you have depression when you have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks: Your mood is depressed for most of the day, especially in the morning. You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.How does depression affect personality? ›
Current evidence suggests that depression is linked to traits such as neuroticism/negative emotionality, extraversion/positive emotionality, and conscientiousness.
It's mainly found in those with low self-esteem, who have a poor outlook, or who feel overwhelmed by stress. Depression is also more common in people with anxiety or other mental health problems. Teens who have tried to self-harm by the age of 16 have a higher risk of having depression by the time they're young adults.Does depression affect physical appearance? ›
People with depression may experience appetite changes, which can cause unintended weight loss or gain. Medical experts have associated excessive weight gain with many health issues, including diabetes and heart disease. Being underweight can harm the heart, affect fertility, and cause fatigue.What are 3 signs of poor mental health? ›
- 9 signs of mental illness - infographic. Can you spot the difference between a bad mood and something more serious? ...
- Feeling anxious or worried. We all get worried or stressed from time to time. ...
- Feeling depressed or unhappy. ...
- Emotional outbursts. ...
- Sleep problems. ...
- Weight or appetite changes. ...
- Quiet or withdrawn. ...
- Substance abuse.
The outward signs of a mental illness are often behavioral. A person may be extremely quiet or withdrawn. Conversely, they may burst into tears, have great anxiety or have outbursts of anger. Even after treatment has started, someindividuals with a mental illness can exhibit anti-social behaviors.Which behavior can trigger depression? ›
Factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression include: Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic.Can depression cause strange Behaviour? ›
Psychiatric illnesses that are often associated with unusual or strange behavior include: Anxiety disorder. Bipolar disorder. Depression.How do people with depression and anxiety act? ›
Anxiety, agitation or restlessness. Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren't your responsibility. Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.What is a mental breakdown? ›
Instead, a mental health crisis or a breakdown of your mental health is a situation that happens when you have intense physical and emotional stress, have difficulty coping and aren't able to function effectively. It's the feeling of being physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by the stress of life.How long do depressive episodes last for? ›
So how long do depressive episodes last? Usually, the depressive episode length ranges from six months to eight months, depending on the person. While some people may have depression that fades, others may struggle with depression on and off their whole life.Which is not a symptom of depression? ›
During a depressed period, you may feel sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. But then it will switch to a period of mania, when you feel euphoric, energetic, or irritable. Those are not symptoms of clinical depression.
- There Isn't Always a Quantifiable Reason. ...
- Many Factors May Cause Depression. ...
- Children Get Depression Too. ...
- It Is a Real Illness. ...
- It's Different from Sadness. ...
- The Depression Umbrella Covers Many Aspects. ...
- Depression Can Change How We Think. ...
- Depression Can Lead to Other Health Issues.
Depression is a serious medical condition that is associated with symptoms such as melancholy, loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. Depression is both a brain disorder and a state of mind.What are two of the biggest reasons for the depression? ›
What were the major causes of the Great Depression? Among the suggested causes of the Great Depression are: the stock market crash of 1929; the collapse of world trade due to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff; government policies; bank failures and panics; and the collapse of the money supply.What type of depression is permanent? ›
Persistent depressive disorder is a continuous, long-term form of depression. You may feel sad and empty, lose interest in daily activities and have trouble getting things done. You may also have low self-esteem, feel like a failure and feel hopeless.What are the 4 types of mental? ›
mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)What does a manic episode look like? ›
Both a manic and a hypomanic episode include three or more of these symptoms: Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired. Increased activity, energy or agitation. Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)What is the last stage of depression? ›
Depression creates a sensation of isolation as if you are lost in the wilderness with no direction. The final stage is acceptance, which means you have finally made peace with the reality of your mental illness.What is depression in one word? ›
de·pres·sion di-ˈpresh-ən. : an act of depressing : a state of being depressed: as. : a pressing down : lowering. : a state of feeling sad : dejection. also : a mental disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, and loss of a sense of one's own worth.What's a manic depressive? ›
Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.What happens before a depression? ›
Irritability, anger, unexplained aches and pains, and changes in energy, focus, and sleeping patterns can occur in both depression and anxiety. Even the persistent dark, negative thoughts commonly associated with depression can look a lot like the endless worry of anxiety.
Physical symptoms are common in depression, and, in fact, vague aches and pain are often the presenting symptoms of depression. These symptoms include chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, sleep disturbances, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes.What are the 8 symptoms of major depressive disorder? ›
It is diagnosed when an individual has a persistently low or depressed mood, anhedonia or decreased interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, lack of energy, poor concentration, appetite changes, psychomotor retardation or agitation, sleep disturbances, or suicidal thoughts.What goes up during a depression? ›
Gold and cash are two of the most important assets to have on hand during a market crash or depression. Gold historically remains constant or only goes up in value during a depression.What Can depression lead up to? ›
Untreated clinical depression is a serious problem. Untreated depression increases the chance of risky behaviors such as drug or alcohol addiction. It also can ruin relationships, cause problems at work, and make it difficult to overcome serious illnesses.What does a breakdown feel like? ›
feel overwhelmed — unable to concentrate or make decisions. be moody — feeling low or depression; feeling burnt out; emotional outbursts of uncontrollable anger, fear, helplessness or crying. feel depersonalised — not feeling like themselves or feeling detached from situations.What is the most serious form of depression? ›
Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.