You may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, you’ve felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or have lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and have also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across.
It’s important to remember that we all experience some of these symptoms from time to time, and it may not necessarily mean you’re depressed. Equally, not everyone who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.
Causes Of Depression
- Relationship problems or conflict e.g. separation/divorce, difficult/abusive relationship
- Job loss, especially long-term unemployment
- Loneliness or feeling isolated
- Excessive drug or alcohol use
- Having another family member who has depression
- Having a serious physical illness
- Changes in how the brain functions
- Personality factors e.g. anxiety, low self-esteem
- Causes of depression vary from person to person because of a mix of personal risk factors and difficult life events. It’s also common for people to experience depression and anxiety at the same time.
Emotional Symptoms Of Depression
- Feeling sad, down or empty for most of the day, nearly every day.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities.
- Becoming withdrawn from friends or family.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Crying for no reason.
Physical Symptoms Of Depression
- Low energy, fatigue and reduced activity
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite or weight
- Increased sleep or appetite (atypical depression)
- Trouble concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Slowed body movements, thinking or speech
- Difficulty sitting still, pacing or hand-wringing
- Diminished sex drive
- Back pain or headaches
- Feeling sick and run down
- Digestive problems.
Depression Symptoms In Children
Depression in very young children is not common. However, it can happen in some situations such as with neglect and abuse; or to a lesser extent, with overprotective parenting.
Depression in children who are going through puberty is more common.
Depression in children can also be associated with family problems or big changes to a child’s life, such as the birth of a sibling or a school move.
Common signs of depression in children in the years before puberty include:
- Prolonged sad mood.
- Loss of interest in normal activities such as playing and games.
- Withdrawal at home and school.
- New behaviors such as stealing or bullying.
- Sleep disturbances and tiredness.
- Bed wetting.
Depression Symptoms In Younger People
Symptoms of depression in young children or teenagers are similar to adults, but there are some differences. Young children may have difficulty expressing that they feel depressed, but may appear irritable, have unexplained aches and pains, lose interest in playing with friends, or have trouble concentrating at school.
Teenagers with depression may also have behaviour changes such as
- Anger and acting out,
- Increased risk-taking
- Drug and alcohol abuse.
Depression Symptoms In Older People
Depression is often undiagnosed in elderly people, as their symptoms may be misinterpreted as being due to physical illness or losses experienced in old age. Suicidal thoughts in older people should be taken seriously, as older men have a high rate of suicide linked to depression.