Symptoms of Depression

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on August 8, 2014
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on August 8, 2014

Depression Overview

Feelings of sadness, loneliness, or even depression are common reactions to disappointment or personal loss. But suffering from depression on a regular basis and for weeks at a time is a different case. This is a sign that you need to seek professional help. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms that may indicate depression.

Common Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression can vary.  They may manifest themselves differently from person to person. People who suffer from the condition often experience several of the following.

Sadness

The most common symptom of depression is a feeling of sadness or emptiness that lasts for more than two weeks. In the case of dysthymia, it can last for longer than two years. Dysthymia is a type of chronic depression in which a person’s moods are consistently low.

Worthlessness

Continual feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or helplessness often accompany the condition. People tend to focus on personal shortcomings or past failures and blame themselves when their life does not go the way they would like.

Irritability

Depression may cause people to get easily frustrated or angered, even over small or insignificant matters.

Fatigue

People with depression often experience lack of energy or feel tired all the time. Small tasks, like showering or getting out of bed, may seem to require more effort than one can manage.

Crying Spells

Sufferers may find themselves crying frequently for no apparent reason.

Apathy

People with depression commonly lose interest or stop finding pleasure in activities that they used to enjoy, including sex.

Restlessness

Agitation and restlessness, including pacing, an inability to sit still, or hand wringing, may occur with depression.

Lack of Concentration

People with depression may have a difficult time remembering, maintaining focus, or making decisions.

Withdrawal

Many people with depression shut themselves off from the world. They may isolate themselves, not answer the phone, or refuse to go out with friends.

Sleep Problems

People’s sleep habits are likely to change as a result of depression. They may not be able to fall asleep or stay asleep, or they may wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep. Other people may find they sleep for long periods and don’t want to get out of bed.

Overeating or Loss of Appetite

Depression can often cause a lack of interest in food and weight loss. In other people, depression leads to overeating and weight gain.

Thoughts of Suicide

Thinking or fantasizing about death is a serious sign that needs to be addressed right away.

Physical Pain

Physical symptoms, such as body pain, headaches, cramps, and digestive problems also can occur. 

Depression Outlook

While symptoms of depression can feel overwhelming and difficult to overcome, there are treatment options available. Talk to your doctor if you have any of the symptoms above.

Read about other causes of sadness.

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