Signs and symptoms of depression

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Signs and symptoms of depression can vary. They are dynamic and with different intensity. Some of them can be:

a loss of sexual desire

agitation, restlessness, irritability, frustration, or restlessness, and pacing up and down

slowed movement and speech

recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or an attempt at suicide

Appetite and/or weight changes

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

Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt or emptiness

Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that used to be enjoyable

Difficulty sleeping, sleep disturbances or sleeping too much

Difficulty thinking clearly, remembering, concentrating, or making decisions

Loss of energy or increased fatigue

Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)

Signs and symptoms of depression in females

Depression is nearly twice as common among women as men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Below are some symptoms of depression that tend to appear more often in females:



mood swings


ruminating (in the sense of dwelling on negative thoughts)

Also, some types of depression are unique to females, such as:

postpartum depression

premenstrual dysphoric disorder

In males

Around 9% of men in the United States have feelings of depression or anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. Males with depression are more likely than females to drink alcohol in excess, display anger, and engage in risk-taking as a result of the disorder. Other symptoms of depression in males may include:

  • avoiding families and social situations

  • working without a break

  • having difficulty keeping up with work and family responsibilities

  • displaying abusive or controlling behaviour in relationships

In college students

Time at college can be stressful, and a person may be dealing with other lifestyles, cultures, and experiences for the first time. Some students have difficulty coping with these changes, and they may develop depression, anxiety, or both as a result. Symptoms of depression in college students may include:

  • difficulty concentrating on schoolwork

  • insomnia

  • sleeping too much

  • a decrease or increase in appetite

  • avoiding social situations and activities that they used to enjoy

Signs and symptoms of depression in teens

Physical changes, peer pressure, and other factors can contribute to depression in teenagers. They may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • withdrawing from friends and family

  • difficulty concentrating on schoolwork

  • feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless

  • restlessness, such as an inability to sit still

In children

The CDC estimate that, in the U.S., 3.2% of children and teens aged 3–17 have a diagnosis of depression. In children, symptoms can make schoolwork and social activities challenging. They may experience symptoms such as:

  • crying

  • low energy

  • clinginess

  • defiant behaviour

  • vocal outbursts

Younger children may have difficulty expressing how they feel in words. This can make it harder for them to explain their feelings of sadness.

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few – but distressing – symptoms may benefit from treatment of their “subsyndromal” depression. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.

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