Symptoms of depression

It’s important to realise that depression is an emotional state and therefore an entirely subjective condition.  As such, it can only be perceived by the sufferer, there are no laboratory tests that can confirm it.  

Since it is impossible to verify what a person is experiencing emotionally, and no biochemical markers have yet been identified, a diagnosis of clinical depression relies on the individual’s report of the severity of their symptoms and the extent to which it affects their life.

The unpleasant sensations and physical effects that are associated with depression are actually symptoms and signs of anxiety.  This can manifest as a rapid pulse, a degree of breathlessness, ‘butterflies’ in the stomach or an unpleasant feeling in the chest, gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, and trembling.  The two conditions are intrinsically linked, with chronic anxiety frequently leading to depression and only 2% of depressed people not reporting anxiety symptoms.

Listed below are many of the common symptoms and signs of depression.  Symptoms are problems that you feel or experience yourself, while signs are effects that can be observed by others.

Persistent sadness Frequently tearful
Feeling low-spirited most of the time Lack of enjoyment or interest in life
Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem Undue feelings of guilt or self-blame
Difficulty concentrating Difficulty making decisions
Poor short-term memory Lack of motivation
Feeling worthless Feeling a failure
Feelings of hopelessness or despair Feeling helpless
Feeling overwhelmed by problems Life seems not worth living
Difficulty falling asleep Sleeping a lot or very little
Waking frequently or too early Having a pessimistic view of the future
Avoiding contact with other people Withdrawing from social interaction
No interest in other people No interest in activities or hobbies
Feeling alone or unsupported Unable to cope with stressful situations
Finding it hard to function at home or work Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
Taking no interest in appearance Not bothering to get dressed
Habitually overeating or comfort eating Binging on food or alcohol
Loss of appetite or not bothering to eat Loss of interest in sex or relationships
Dwelling on negative thoughts Repeatedly talking about bad experiences
A sense of impending doom Inability to relax or calm down
Feeling emotionally numb or apathetic Contemplating suicide and death
Self-harming or using illicit drugs Obsessive thoughts or actions
Feeling nervous, anxious or agitated Getting easily annoyed or irritated
Lack of mental and physical energy Feeling emotionally exhausted