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Signs of depression

At Priory, we understand that it can be very difficult to cope with depression, and the symptoms of this condition, including feelings of despair and hopelessness, can sometimes prevent people from seeking the expert support that they need. The signs and symptoms of depression can vary from person to person and also according to severity and the type of depression that you are suffering from.

Depression symptoms can be categorised into psychological, physical and social symptoms.

Psychological symptoms of depression

Some of the most common psychological symptoms of depression can include:

  • Intense feelings of sadness – your moods may be so low that they affect your ability to function and even take care of yourself
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness – feeling as though you are unable to see a way out of your depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tearfulness – finding that you are crying more than usual and become emotional for no apparent reason
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability – becoming angry for insignificant reasons and taking it out on the people who are closest to you
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Indecisiveness
  • Flat affect (reduced emotional reactivity)
  • Lack of interest in physical appearance or personal hygiene
  • Drugs and alcohol abuse as a way of coping with depression and attempting to self-medicate to help you to manage your depression symptoms. Substance abuse may hinder your recovery and could lead to further problems

Physical signs of depression

Depression affects people in different ways, but the most common physical signs of depression often include:

  • Appetite changes – either increased or reduced appetite which may also result in weight fluctuations
  • Low energy/excessive fatigue
  • Psychomotor agitation (being restless or unable to sit still)
  • Psychomotor retardation (slowing of movements)
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia – you may experience reduced sleep because you are unable to ‘switch off’ from negative emotions, or find that you are sleeping long hours and struggle to get out of bed
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Unexplained digestive problems
  • Sexual dysfunction, including reduced libido and erectile difficulties

This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Leon Rozewicz (MBBS, FRCPsych, MRCGP, MRCPsych) in May 2018, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in May 2020. To view all Priory depression specialists, please click here.

Social symptoms of depression:
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Self-help tips for dealing with depression
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