Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Do you, or someone you know, have Depression? How can you tell if someone is depressed? When is it time to seek treatment? What does depression recovery look like?

Read below to find the answers!

depression symptoms

Do you, or someone you know, have Depression?

...First of all, what is Depression?

major depressive disorder NIMH

How can you tell if someone is depressed?

Signs & Symptoms

(information from NIMH)

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities

  • Decreased energy or fatigue

  • Moving or talking more slowly

  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

  • Appetite and/or weight changes

  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

depression signs and symptoms

Related: Free Depression Test, Are You Depressed?

Those who are depressed will not always experience all of these symptoms at one time, or some of them at all. These are just the symptoms that can be associated with depression.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. It often co-occurs with other mental or physical illnesses. Anxiety is one mental illness that often gets confused as co-occurring with Depression. Many times, anxiety or anxious thoughts can be a symptom of Depression.

What causes Depression?

There are two general ways someone can get Depression. Someone with Depression may be biologically predetermined to have a mental illness. Mental illness can and often does run in families, so a history of your family's mental health is always a good thing to know!

The other way someone can get Depression is through outside factors. Major life changes (divorce, death, physical illness, moving, etc.), trauma, and stress all can cause Depression. Certain medications can alter your moods, and substance abuse can also affect one's moods and depressive tendencies.

Related: 7 Free Mood Trackers to Manage Your Mental Health

When is it time to seek treatment?

You should seek treatment when you notice abnormal behavior or multiple symptoms of depression!

abnormal behavior

What kinds of treatments are there?

No two people are alike when it comes to the treatment of mental illness. Certain things work differently for different people, and each brain also works differently. It can take some trial-and-error to find the right treatment.

Related: 52 Mental Health Journal Prompts for Depression


Also known as "talk therapy", psychotherapy is also known around as counseling. There's a lot of different kinds of therapy that work for different people, and psychotherapy is one of the most common. It's best to find an LMFT or an LCSW to get general counseling! If you have more serious clinical concerns, it's beneficial to look for a psychologist with a Psy.D. who deals with clinical patients on a more regular basis.

Types of psychotherapy:

CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)

IPT (Interpersonal Therapy)

Problem-Solving Therapy

Rose-Minded has partnered with Modern Therapy, to bring loyal readers mental health resources they can actually use and benefit from. Online therapy is already affordable and accessible, so get started with a free week of therapy using the code ""roseminded"".

Click here to check out Modern Therapy!


Psychotropic medication is just a fancy way to say psychiatric medicine or medicine for mental health. Antidepressants are the psychotropics prescribed to help people with symptoms of Depression, affecting the serotonin and sometimes the dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain. Talk to a psychiatrist about antidepressants, regular doctors can prescribe them, but psychiatrists are trained specifically for the diagnosis and prescription of psychotropic drugs. Be sure to ask your doctor about side effects.


ECT stands for electro-convulsive therapy and is a more intense treatment of depression, used when medications don't work. It's not the same thing as what you see in horror movies in "insane asylums". ECT is done in a safe environment with trained doctors and nurses present; the patient is put under before the shocks are administered and they feel no pain. Again, this treatment is used more as a last resort, when medications aren't helping. It's proven to be helpful for those who have tried everything else without success!

A combination of psychotropic medication and psychotherapy has been proven to be the most beneficial way to treat Depression!

What does depression recovery look like?

Depression recovery is many times a long and frustrating process. I, personally, have been diagnosed with Depression, and the recovery process is bumpy and I still make changes to my treatment. However, it's not this way for everyone and recovery can be easy or hard!

To see my personal story about getting diagnosed with Depression, click here.

Here are ways you can aid in your depression recovery:

  • Get good exercise (even walking is good)

  • Go outside, sunlight is important

  • Build a support system

  • Try new things

  • Focus on self-care

  • Journal (Related: Journal Inspiration)

  • Maintain good nutrition

  • Learn healthy coping strategies

A good aid in depression recovery is writing in a journal. Sometimes people just don't know what to write about, or where to start. The Mental Health Journal Guide for Depression gives you 52 mental health journal prompts, a full year's worth of weekly journaling for anyone experiencing depression. Check out the journal guide for more info!

#depression #depressiontreatment #recovery


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