Mental Health NEWS

The most common symptoms of depression

Jan 8, 2023


Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.


More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling, or both. There are also useful readings you can do on websites like this.




Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:


- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness

- Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even over small matters

- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports

- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even simple tasks take extra effort

- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain

- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness

- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements

- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions

- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide

- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches


Depression symptoms in children and teenagers


Children and teenagers with depression may have some of the following signs:


- Persistent sadness, anxiety, or "empty" mood

- Hopelessness, or feelings of despair

- Anger, irritability, or hostility

- Loss of interest in friends, activities, or school

- Loss of energy or motivation

- Unexplained aches and pains

- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

- Making a suicide attempt


Depression symptoms in older adults


Older adults with depression may have some of the following signs:


- Memory problems, especially loss of recent memory

- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or thinking clearly

- Pessimism or a negative outlook on life

- Frequent talk of death or suicide

- Withdrawal from friends and activities

 depression symptoms

When to see a doctor


If you have any of the above signs and symptoms for more than two weeks, you may have depression. Depression is not a normal part of aging. If you're 65 or older and have depression, you may have a greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke.


See your doctor or mental health professional if you:


- Have depression symptoms that interfere with your daily life

- Feel depressed most of the day, nearly every day

- Have lost interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed

- Are having trouble sleeping, are sleeping too much, or are having trouble staying awake during the day

- Are having trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

- Are feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or angry

- Are experiencing unexplained aches and pains

- Are using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate

- Are having thoughts of suicide


If you have thoughts of suicide, get help immediately.




Depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.


Genetic factors


Depression can run in families, but it doesn't mean that children of parents with depression will automatically become depressed. Studies indicate that depression is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.


Biological factors


Certain chemicals in the brain may play a role in causing or triggering depression. For example, a decrease in the neurotransmitter serotonin is linked to depression.


Environmental factors


Environmental factors such as a major life change, loss of a loved one, or financial problems can trigger depression.


Psychological factors


Psychological factors such as low self-esteem, a history of trauma or abuse, or a family history of mental illness can increase the risk of depression.


Risk factors


Certain factors may increase your risk of developing depression:


- Family history of depression

- Personal history of depression

- History of abuse or trauma

- History of mental illness

- Long-term stress

- Use of alcohol or drugs

- Pregnancy

- certain medical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, or Parkinson's disease




Depression can lead to a number of emotional and physical problems.


Emotional problems


Depression can make it hard to take pleasure in the activities you once enjoyed. You may feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless. Depression can also lead to thoughts of suicide.


Physical problems


Depression can lead to physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, and sexual dysfunction. Depression can also worsen chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.




Depression treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. For mild depression, you may be able to manage your symptoms with self-care. For moderate to severe depression, you may need medication and psychological counseling.




If you have mild depression, you may be able to manage your symptoms with self-care. Self-care includes:


- Getting regular exercise

- Eating a healthy diet

- Reducing stress

- Getting enough sleep

- Avoiding alcohol and drugs

- Connecting with friends and family


Psychological counseling


Psychological counseling, also called therapy, can help you understand your thoughts and feelings and develop coping skills. Types of therapy used to treat depression include:


- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy helps you identify and change negative thinking and behavior.

- Interpersonal therapy. This type of therapy helps you identify and change problems in your relationships.

- Psychodynamic therapy. This type of therapy explores the unconscious mind and helps you understand how your thoughts and feelings are influenced by your past experiences.




Certain types of medication can help relieve the symptoms of depression. The most common type of medication used to treat depression is antidepressants. Antidepressants are available as pills, liquids, or injections.


Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of medication and increase the dose gradually. It may take several weeks or months for you to feel the full benefit of the medication.


If you have moderate to severe depression, you may need to take medication for a year or longer. If you have mild depression, you may only need medication for a short time.


You may need to try several different antidepressant medications before finding the one that improves your symptoms with the fewest side effects.


Side effects of antidepressants can include:


- Nausea

- Vomiting

- Headache

- Diarrhea

- Bloating

- Weight gain or loss

- Decreased sex drive

- Dry mouth

- Dizziness

- Blurred vision


If you have side effects from your medication, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medication.


If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, your doctor will likely prescribe a different type of antidepressant.


Electroconvulsive therapy


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a type of brain stimulation therapy that is used to treat severe depression. ECT is usually used only when other treatments, such as medication and psychological counseling, haven't worked.


During ECT, a small electric current is passed through the brain to trigger a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can relieve depression.


ECT is usually done three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments. ECT is usually done while you're asleep and under general anesthesia.


Afterward, you may have some side effects, such as confusion, headache, and muscle aches. These side effects are usually temporary.


Lifestyle changes


If you have depression, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your symptoms. These lifestyle changes include:


- Getting regular exercise

- Eating a healthy diet

- Reducing stress

- Getting enough sleep

- Avoiding alcohol and drugs


If you have depression, you may need medication and psychological counseling to get better. But these lifestyle changes can help improve your symptoms.