Wondering if you might be depressed? Learning the common signs of depression can help you figure out what to do next.
Depression is a mental health condition that’s often misunderstood.
If you have depression, you may feel despair that prevents you from enjoying activities you once liked, have trouble sleeping, or find it hard to make decisions. You can also experience physical symptoms like fatigue.
Even though more than
If you’re feeling down, knowing the common signs and effects of depression can help you figure out if you’re experiencing something more than a brief case of the blues.
If you’ve been having symptoms — like low mood, loss of interest, and sleep issues — for most of the day for more than 2 weeks, you may be dealing with depression.
While two people diagnosed with the same type of depression won’t have exactly the same symptoms, there are several depression symptoms that are common.
Here are 10 of the most prevalent (in no particular order):
1. Persistent low mood
Many of us feel down from time to time, but when this feeling just won’t go away, it may mean you’re experiencing depression.
You might feel like you’re continually out of sorts. It’s also common for anxiety symptoms to occur alongside depression, as well as feelings of impending doom.
Sometimes, people with depression describe themselves as feeling numb or “flatlined.” They may have difficulty mustering up an emotional response to things that happen to them — whether good or bad.
2. Loss of interest or pleasure in things you once enjoyed
“What’s the point?” and “Why bother?” are phrases you might say describe your mood for a few weeks straight. Work, social activities, and even simple household chores may seem pointless to you.
Maybe you typically love to do DIY projects or enjoy going to the local coffee shop with friends on the weekends. But if you have depression, these things might not appeal to you suddenly. You may find it challenging to muster up the energy to do them, or just don’t have the desire.
3. Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
Many people with depression can feel overwhelming guilt about past actions or events, or even feel guilty about being depressed.
You might also experience low self-esteem and self-loathing. You may also feel hopeless — like there’s nothing you can do to feel better.
4. Loss of sex drive
When you’re depressed, your desire for sex may wane. You may start to wonder what happened to your sex drive.
This can lead to more guilty feelings, especially if your partner is having difficulty understanding why you no longer want this type of intimacy.
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5. Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling slowed down
Most people think of the mental and emotional symptoms of depression, but it can cause physical symptoms, too. These physical symptoms often mimic other health conditions.
Many people may experience low energy and fatigue. It can be a “bone tired” feeling that just won’t go away despite getting enough sleep.
If you’re depressed, you might also feel like everything is happening in slow motion, yet you still can’t keep up because of overwhelming mental and physical exhaustion.
If you experience catatonia with depression, you may feel stuck or in a perpetual state of being “paused” that can alarm those around you.
6. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Your ability to focus can become impaired when depression arises. You may feel like you have never-ending brain fog or worry you’re losing your ability to “think straight.”
You may also forget essential appointments or work-related tasks, and have trouble making even simple decisions.
7. Trouble sleeping
Depression can cause your sleep habits to change radically.
For example, you may develop insomnia. You might be unable to fall asleep as easily as you once did, or wake up exceptionally early when you used to be a late riser. Your sleep could also be disrupted, causing you to wake up throughout the night.
Or instead of being unable to sleep, you might develop hypersomnia (aka oversleeping). You could sleep for 10 hours straight and still not feel well-rested.
Any sleep problems can lead to issues keeping up with daily tasks.
8. Changes to appetite or weight
Depression can commonly cause changes to your weight and eating habits.
Some people might have an increased appetite, while others lose all desire for food. You may also gain or lose weight without trying.
9. Restlessness or irritability
Having depression is exhausting for the mind and body.
You could develop a low tolerance for other people’s behaviors, becoming irritable or short-tempered. You may sometimes lash out at loved ones unexpectedly and then feel guilty for doing so.
You can also feel restless when depressed. This might lead you to jump from one thought or action to another. You could be restless and not even notice it.
10. Suicidal thoughts or attempts
If you’re depressed, you may start to have thoughts about not wanting to be alive anymore. This is a serious symptom that means it’s time to seek help.
Suicidal ideation is when someone ruminates on ending their life. This might look like drawing or writing about suicide, closing social media accounts in one sitting, or giving away keepsake photos or rainy day funds.
If you notice signs of suicide risk, you can contact a hotline for support day or night:
How do you know when it’s time to schedule a visit with a doctor or mental health pro to discuss your symptoms?
The short answer? If your symptoms are distressing or interfere with your work, family, or social life.
If you think you may be depressed but are still uncertain, there are online screening tools that can help you with a starting point.
But any symptoms of depression are reason enough to talk with a healthcare professional.
Signs of depression can also occur with other health conditions, so it can be a good idea to rule those out first.
If you do receive a diagnosis of depression, you’re not alone. There are many treatment options that can help you feel better.