What Are Symptoms Of Depression? How To See The Signs

Updated August 28, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Stephanie Deaver, LCSW

Depression is a serious condition that has many signs and symptoms. You should be aware of these symptoms so you can also be aware of when you or others around you may be suffering from depression. This disorder requires proper treatment.  The treatment is effective in reducing depressive symptoms. Keep reading for a look at the symptoms of depression and an explanation on how to notice depression when present.

What Is Depression?

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In a general sense, depression occurs when you experience sad feelings, which change the way you go about your day or change up your routine. Depression is considered to be a type of mood disorder.

Causes Of Depression

There are a few possible causes of depression that you should be aware of:

  • If there is someone in your family that has depression or did have depression in the past, there is a greater chance that you will experience this condition.
  • Other medical issues – If you suffer from other medical issues, especially one that is a serious or chronic condition, this may lead to you also developing depression.
  • Past trauma – People with depression have sometimes experienced past trauma, including trauma that happened during the early years of their life.
  • Past drug use – A history of drug abuse may lead to a higher probability of having depression.

Symptoms Of Depression

There are many signs of depression that will be able to clue you in that you might need some help:

  • Feelings of sadness that won’t go away
  • Feeling like hope is lost
  • Feeling worthless
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest in things you used to like
  • Eating too much/too little
  • Unable to sleep
  • Unable to concentrate
  • No energy
  • Irritability
  • Headaches, or other pains in the body
  • Thoughts of suicide

How To See The Signs

If you have more than one of the symptoms listed above and they are affecting your life, you should consider getting help. If you feel like you aren’t good enough or that your life doesn’t matter, this is a clear sign that you may need to talk to someone. Seek out a therapist’s help as soon as you can to get to the bottom of how you’re feeling.

Moreover, if your routines and feelings start to change where you feel like you are a different person than you were just a short time ago, this may also let you know that you need to consider getting help. Mental health is something that must be taken care of, much like you take care of your physical health.

If you or someone you know is thinking or talking about suicide, you must act quickly to get help without haste. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for more assistance at 1-800-273-8255.

Depressive Disorders

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Not all depression is the same. Depression can vary in severity and length. Here is a look at some of the most common types of depression:

Major Depressive Disorder

This disorder takes place when you have symptoms of depression that last for many days a week and for at least 2 weeks. The symptoms are likely to interfere in all facets of your life.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

You may have this disorder if your depression symptoms last over 2 years. At the same time, your symptoms may not be severe the entire time, but wax and wane throughout that period.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a disorder where someone feels periods of up, or elevated moods, which is called mania, and periods where they feel down, which is depression. Bipolar disorder is serious and maybe something that affects you for many years. The condition is characterized by symptoms that can impact your health greatly, so bipolar disorder is a disorder that must be monitored by a healthcare professional. If you think you may have this disorder, you should seek out treatment quickly so that you can start to manage your symptoms.

There are multiple types of bipolar disorder, which are different depending on the amount of time you have experienced symptoms. Not all types of bipolar disorder have an equal amount of time spent in depression and manic moods, and in some cases, the feelings are present a long time but are minor.

In short, bipolar disorder differs from depression in the fact that there are additional feelings of mania that may affect you when depressive symptoms are not being experienced.

Treatment Options

In terms of treatment options, there are techniques you can add to your home routine, and there is professional help that can greatly benefit you.

Things To Change

There are a few things you can change in your day-to-day life, which can help improve your outlook and may boost the other treatments you are taking advantage of as well.

  • Don’t isolate yourself. When you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, you may feel like you don’t want to be around anyone and that you need to keep to yourself. You should not do this. Take the time to hang out with friends or family members sometimes, and they may be able to provide the moral support that you need.
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  • Take things slowly. Even when there are big projects that you are working on or you have to get a lot of things done, you must remember that you can’t do many things at once. Try to break large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks, so you won’t get overwhelmed.
  • Exercise and eat right. Even if you just exercise a little bit, this can do your body good and may also help keep your moods in check. Keeping up with a balanced diet should also be able to help your moods and is beneficial for your overall health too.
  • Learn to relax. Take time to relax when you need to. Sometimes when stress or the things you have to do are causing you to feel anxious or run down, you need to take a few minutes to just breathe and relax. Some people opt for meditation, and others enjoy taking warm baths. What you do to relax is up to you.
  • Start doing things again. One of the symptoms of depression is that you don’t feel like you want to do things that you used to like.  A way to change this is to start taking part in activities you previously enjoyed. Perhaps you really like cooking or painting. Start to do these things again, and you may be able to remember why you liked these activities in the first place.
  • Listen to the professionals. You do not have to go through depression alone. When you are paying attention to the signs and are in the process of getting the right treatment to improve your mental health, you should always listen to the professionals. They will be able to help you alleviate symptoms, and this can really change your life.

Psychotherapy

Speaking to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional about your depression, symptoms, and more is something that should be done.  They will be able to discuss specific treatment options with you, and this may help you start to be able to think differently so you can be more hopeful and able to see promise for the future.

Moreover, there are options available to you in person or online. Online therapy is accessible in many places, but a leader in online treatment is BetterHelp. They have professionals that can talk to you any day of the week and are there when you need them. As technology changes, proper mental health care options must evolve too. A 2015 study states that there are effective online therapy options out there that help with depression.

Medications

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There are a few specific medications available that may be able to help control many of the symptoms of depression. You must talk to your doctor or therapist about which ones you should take, and your doses must be monitored closely to ensure that they are working the way they are supposed to.

Overview

When you start to notice the signs that you are acting differently, have a loss of interest in things that you used to hold dear, or you are experiencing many of the symptoms listed above, you may be suffering from depression. If you are, there’s no reason that you have to live with this. You can take action and seek the help you need. There are multiple treatment options you can rely on.

Obtaining treatment is the best way to ensure that your symptoms will be manageable. Some experience depression for many years, and there is no “cure.” However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t hope since you can still live your life and do the things you enjoy. Don’t ignore the signs when they are passing you by; remember that your mental health is important, and needs to be addressed when something is affecting it negatively.


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