a woman shows depression symptoms like sadness
SOURCE: Engin Akyurt via Pexels

Depression Symptoms: A Comprehensive List of Mental, Emotional, and Physical Signs

Symptoms of depression can be difficult to notice. Depression is such an individualised experience, that two people struggling with it may have very different symptoms. But this comprehensive list of depression symptoms can help.

 

Understanding depression

Depression is a complex mental health condition. While the word ‘depression’ is popularly used to describe sadness, the mental health state is far more nuanced.

 

Broadly, depression is a persistent difficulty in feeling joy and interest, which persists for two weeks or longer and feels unending, and significantly affects daily life in areas such as work, relationships, and self-care. But beyond this, the specific symptoms of any individual struggling with depression vary significantly.

 

Symptoms of depression: A comprehensive list

The following lists include symptoms that may or may not indicate depression. Depression is a highly individualised experience; not everyone will experience all or even most of the symptoms listed below.

 

(Article continues below.)

 


 

Want to measure your depression symptoms? 

Take our free, 2-minute depression test. Trusted and used by mental health clinicians globally.

 


 

Physical symptoms of depression

Depression is a mental health condition, but its effects aren’t limited to the mind. It often manifests in physical experiences that include:

  • Altered sleep patterns, such as sleeping too much, disrupted sleep, insomnia, or trouble falling asleep despite feeling exhausted
  • Persistent tiredness, fatigue, or lack of energy that makes even small tasks feel overwhelming
  • Appetite fluctuations, leading to weight loss or gain
  • Unexplained aches and pains, including headaches and joint pain
  • Nausea or digestive problems
  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • Low sex drive

Mental symptoms of depression

Depression can change connections within the brain that affect our ability to think, reason, remember, and more. This can lead to symptoms such as:

Emotional symptoms of depression

Depression is most popularly understood by its emotional symptoms, which include persistent feelings such as:

  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness
  • Sadness or despair
  • Helplessness
  • Irritability or anger that is disproportionate to the situation
  • Numbness, disconnection or detachment from yourself, your life, others, or the world around you
  • Guilt or shame

Behavioral symptoms of depression

The physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of depression combine to affect our lifestyles and behaviours. Behavioural signs of depression include:

  • Social isolation by withdrawing from social interactions and activities or frequently cancelling plans
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, such as hobbies, socialising, or self-care
  • Declining self-care, through the neglect of work-life balance, personal hygiene, physical activity, or essential household chores
  • Using substances like alcohol or drugs to cope with negative emotions
  • Crying spells that may seem like they have no reason
  • Skipping daily responsibilities, like work or school

Depression is a common condition, and experiencing some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have it. However, if these signs persist and intensify to interfere with your daily life, seeking professional help is crucial.

Therapy – whether digital or one-on-one – can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. With the right support, you can find your way back to a brighter and more hopeful place.

 

 

SOURCES:

  • Kennedy SH. Core symptoms of major depressive disorder: relevance to diagnosis and treatment. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008;10(3):271-7.
  • Wang JWu XLai W, et al Prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms among outpatients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.