Signs of Depression: Are You Just Sad or Clinically
Are you wondering “Am I depressed?” or whether a loved one is? What are the
signs of depression? Everyone feels sad or depressed from time to time. This
doesn’t mean you are clinically depressed or have major depressive disorder, a
serious medical illness. Usually feelings of unhappiness are temporary and
appropriate given the situation (e.g. relationship ending, death, crisis,
transition). However, when signs persist or become severe, this may be early
symptoms of major depression.
Signs and symptoms of depression include emotional, cognitive and physical
aspects (see below). One of the key signs of clinical depression is that these
depressive symptoms cause you great suffering and/or impair your functioning in
important areas of your life such as work, school and relationships. When you
have clinical depression or a depressive disorder, you need
depression help -- either antidepressant
medication and/or therapy.
If you experience some of these depression warning signs, see a health
care/mental health professional for further assessment and possible treatment.
Clinical Depression Symptoms
As defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a
manual published by the American Psychiatric Association listing the criteria
for various psychiatric diagnoses, a major depressive episode consists of at
least 5 or more of the following signs. For at least two weeks, you experience
these depression signs persistently (for most of the day, nearly every day). One
of the symptoms of major depression is either 1) depressed mood or 2) a
significant decrease in interest or pleasure in all or most activities/things
you used to enjoy. Some of the following signs can occur early on or build up
These symptoms of clinical depression are not caused by a medical condition or
substance (e.g. medication, drug). You can feel depressed for a particular
reason or for no apparent cause (endogenous depression).
Emotional/Cognitive Signs of Depression:
- Feeling worthless or excessive guilt
- Having difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling like you want to hurt or kill yourself, having repeated thoughts
of suicide. You’ve tried to attempt suicide or you have a specific plan on
how you will kill yourself. (If you feel like hurting yourself, call a 24 hour crisis hotline,
800-273-8255 or 800-784-2433 or call “911” or go to the nearest emergency
Depression Physical Symptoms:
- Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight or not wanting to eat
- Having difficulty sleeping or over sleeping
- Feeling physically agitated/restless or slowed down (which is noticeable
- Feeling extremely tired and having no energy or little or no motivation
to do anything
Other Symptoms for Depression:
- Wanting to isolate and not be with people
- Feeling pessimistic or hopeless about the future
- Feeling more irritable than usual
- Crying more than usual or crying easily
- Low self-esteem. Feeling more self-critical or like a failure
- Change in sexual interest or drive
- Experiencing psychotic signs such as hallucinations (hearing voices) or
delusions (false beliefs)
Symptoms of severe depression may include having many of the above signs,
suicidal thinking or behavior, significant problems with daily functioning
(e.g. missing work or school, isolating oneself) and/or psychotic symptoms.
Different types of depression exist
which are distinguished by the prevalent symptoms, severity and duration.
To help determine whether you are experiencing depressive signs, you can take a depression test.
1. Source - Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental
Disorders, 4th Edition.
Also see: [ depression test ] [
causes ] [
The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only.
This information should not replace proper evaluation and diagnosis of
depression by a mental health professional. Before taking any action, please
consult with a mental health professional. Please see