Depression can present in a variety of different ways but there are five telltale symptoms to look out for.
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over
The effects of depression can impact the way a person thinks, behaves, and interacts with others.
If you live with depression, you may find that the activities you once enjoyed no longer hold any interest. Even simple things — like getting out of bed in the morning — can be hard when you have depression.
Knowing the common symptoms of depression can help you recognize if what you’re experiencing is depression and whether you may benefit from an evaluation by a healthcare or mental health professional.
Depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all condition.
Its symptoms can vary from person to person and can be based on the specific type of depression you have. But even if two people have the same type of depression, they may still have different symptoms.
There are many symptoms of depression, but there are five common ones that, if you experience them for most of the day for more than 2 weeks, may be a strong indicator that you have depression.
Persistent depressed (low) mood
It’s natural to feel down from time to time. Our lives can sometimes be overwhelming.
Work can be demanding, family stressors can be emotional, and life, in general, can sometimes just be hard.
However, if you’re noticing that these “low” moods are lasting longer than usual, and you find that you just can’t “shake it,” you may be experiencing depression.
Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
Sometimes we lose interest in things we used to love. We may no longer be as interested in reading as we once were, or we may find that sports or artistic outlets we once enjoyed have lost their luster.
As we get older and our life experiences change, some things just naturally fall by the wayside.
But when you find that even mustering up the energy to do activities becomes a challenge, it may be something more than just the natural waning of your interest.
When you live with depression, these activities — like hanging out with friends or even doing simple household chores — can seem pointless.
Feelings of worthlessness
We all experience moments of low self-esteem and times when we feel we’ve let ourselves or others down. Maybe you missed a deadline at work or got a bad grade at school.
Temporarily feeling frustrated with our actions or behaviors is a typical way of processing feelings of disappointment.
If you’re depressed, you might be continuously feeling unworthy or inadequate in multiple areas of your life.
If you’re having trouble focusing at work, concentrating at school, or completing simple tasks at home, it could be a sign of depression.
Because depression can affect someone both physically and mentally, even the most familiar and easy activities can become hard to manage and complete.
Thoughts of harming yourself
Suicidal ideation is an immediate cause for concern. If you or someone you love has expressed having thoughts of suicide or of “not wanting to be alive,” you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text “HOME” to 741741.
The lifeline provides 24-7 access to free and confidential support from trained professionals and even provides a convenient online chat if you feel more comfortable communicating that way.
For additional suicide prevention and crisis resources, check out our page on suicide prevention.
Does any of this sound familiar? Have you been trying to shake these persistent feelings for weeks, but they just don’t seem to go away?
Then what you’re experiencing may be depression.
Remember that although depression has a range of symptoms, the presence of depressed mood, lack of interest, feelings of worthlessness, poor concentration, and thoughts of death are all serious signs that it may be time to consider seeking help.
If you think you may have depression, consider talking with your primary care doctor. They’re a great first point of contact for getting help. They can physically assess your current condition and submit a referral to a mental health professional if needed.
Initially, a mental health professional will evaluate your symptoms through various measures, like a clinical interview and verbal or written assessments. Once completed, they’ll evaluate your responses to come up with a diagnosis and plan for treatment.
Often, treatment involves therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Local mental health support groups are also a great way to get a sense of belonging, share coping strategies, and learn from one another’s experiences.
You can visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find a local support group. Groups meet weekly, every other week, and monthly across the country. There are also online support groups you can try if those are more comfortable for you.
Remembering depression self-care techniques is also important. Not getting enough sleep, exercise, or sunshine can set us up to feel poorly throughout the day.
Also, it’s important to get some form of exercise daily. Exercise releases endorphins, which the body produces to relieve stress and pain.
If you recognize some of these symptoms in your own life but aren’t quite sure if it’s depression, consider taking our depression test. This test is not meant to be a formal medical diagnosis, but it can help you determine if you may benefit from an evaluation by a mental health professional.
Depression is a common, treatable mental illness.
We all have trouble from time to time coping with life’s challenges, but it’s important to recognize when persistent symptoms become something to worry about.
Depressed mood, lack of interest, poor concentration, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of death are signs that it may be time to consider seeking help.
Therapy and antidepressants or other forms of medication can be used to treat depression. Often, mental health providers will use a combination of both to get you back to feeling like yourself again.
If you find this information relatable and want to take the first steps toward healing and wellness, consider contacting a healthcare professional for an appointment. They will be able to rule out any medical conditions and get you in contact with a mental health professional who will be able to diagnose and provide a course of treatment for your symptoms.
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