Five Signs of Depression Everyone Should Know About

Woman worried while showing off the window in the city during a spring day, mental health concept

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions, affecting around 264 million people globally, according to a World Health Organisation report.

Although each person is impacted differently, researchers say there are five telltale signs of depression that everyone should know about, which will be explored in this article.

If you or a loved one suffers from depression, you’ll likely be familiar with how the condition can affect many aspects of your life.

Depression can harm how you think, behave, and see yourself and the world around you.

You may have difficulty performing daily activities, such as showering, walking the dog, working, or cooking. 

Depression can have a detrimental impact on your ability to function as you once did, making the simplest tasks seem overwhelming, if not impossible.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of depression is crucial so that you can access the right help and support from a mental health professional who can ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

If you or a loved one struggles with depression, it’s important to know you are not alone and there is help available. 

Many people live with depression, and with proper treatment and support, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live the fulfilling, joyous life you deserve.

Contact our friendly team in Ontario to learn more about our depression treatment program and begin your journey to lasting transformation and wellness. 

Five signs of depression everyone should know about

The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person and often depend on the type of depression you have.

It’s also possible for two individuals with the same type of depression to experience markedly different symptoms.

However, researchers have noted that although the symptoms of depression can vary widely, there are five common signs that, if experienced every day for more than two weeks, can signify that you may be suffering from the condition.

Let’s explore these signs in more detail.

1. Persistent sadness or low mood

a lady suffering from depression

We all feel down occasionally, and this does not always signify that something is wrong.

Feeling sad or down after a traumatic event or stressful experience is common, and you will usually start to feel better once you have had time to process what has happened. 

When feeling low, you may feel tired, frustrated, worried, or anxious – as unpleasant as this can be, symptoms of low mood often subside after a few days or weeks.

However, if your mood doesn’t improve after several weeks and you notice that you no longer experience pleasure from activities you once enjoyed, this could be a vital warning sign that you have depression.

Fortunately, depression is a highly treatable condition. 

Various treatment options can help you manage your depressive symptoms, allowing you to develop healthy coping mechanisms and build resilience and understanding about your condition to help you cope when times get tough.

Contact our friendly team in Ontario, who will discuss your treatment options and develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to your symptoms, health profile, and history.

2. Fatigue 

Experiencing persistent low energy levels and fatigue is another telltale sign of depression.

For people with depression, feeling tired is a prevalent symptom. 

Amy Ricke, MD of Your Doctors Online, says that “tiredness or fatigue is one of the hallmarks of depression.” (Why depression makes you tired and how to deal with fatigue, Insider, Madeleine Burry, April 13, 2020.)

If someone is depressed, they will likely feel tired physically, emotionally, and cognitively, according to the Insider report.

Moreover, the report showed that depression can make sleep less restful and restorative, further exacerbating the problem. 

As a result, individuals with depression typically have much lower energy levels than those who do not have the condition. 

In addition, the various other symptoms often experienced by depression sufferers, such as low mood or melancholy, can compound exhaustion and fatigue, creating a vicious cycle for those with the condition.

Brain changes

Ricke also explains that depression is likely associated with specific changes in the neurotransmitters in the brain (such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin).

The above chemicals are essential in regulating our energy levels, sleep, appetite, motivation, and pleasure.

All this may suggest that when these neurotransmitters are imbalanced or impaired in some way, a person is more likely to experience depression. (Why depression makes you tired and how to deal with fatigue, Insider, Madeleine Burry, April 13, 2020.)

3. Changes in appetite

Woman with Eating disorders and Depression

Various research shows that significant changes in a person’s appetite (i.e., overeating or loss of appetite) may indicate they have depression.

For individuals who experience a loss of appetite when depressed, this can signify a lack of energy or desire to eat.

Moreover, some of the physical symptoms of depression, such as nausea, stomach ache, or headache, may cause discomfort, restricting the amount (or type) of food a person can consume.

A 2017 study on depression revealed that almost half of people who live with major depressive disorder experience appetite loss as a symptom. (Can Depression Make Food Not Taste as Good? PsychCentral, Chantelle Pattemore, August 2022.)

Another 2018 study reported that around a quarter of those living with major depressive disorder also experience a loss of taste. 

But why does this happen?

According to some scientists, brain connectivity and function may play a role in the relationship between appetite and depression. (Can Depression Make Food Not Taste as Good? PsychCentral, Chantelle Pattemore, August 2022.)

This may be because individuals with depression exhibit less activity in brain areas associated with reward, pleasure, and sensory cues, including visual.

Scientists explain that an individual with depression may experience a disconnect between the brain signals that prompt hunger responses when presented with a delicious dish. 

In addition, some medications designed to treat the symptoms of depression may also result in a loss of appetite, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

4. Difficulty concentrating 

Another common symptom of depression is when an individual has trouble concentrating on a specific task or activity and/or experiences difficulty making decisions.

In addition, it is common for people with depression to experience memory loss as part of their condition.

But why is this?

Various studies show that because most people with depression have low motivation, they are also more likely to have a reduced capacity for attention and focus.

Furthermore, depression sufferers may make more mistakes than non-sufferers because they lack focus or concentration.

Seeking support and treatment for your symptoms is crucial, and will allow you to focus more easily and manage daily activities and tasks better.

5. Feelings of worthlessness

Female consoles her sad boyfriend who has depression and some problems, pose at bedroom on bed

Most of us experience a lack of confidence and/or low self-esteem from time to time.

These can be brought on by a setback or disappointment, such as the ending of a significant relationship or a project that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped.

Although unpleasant, feelings of unworthiness or low self-esteem are often temporary and typically dissipate once you’ve had time to process your emotions, allowing you to build resilience and learn from your mistakes.

However, for those with depression, these unpleasant feelings never seem to go away and can make the individual feel inadequate or unworthy in various aspects of their life.

It can be helpful to keep track of any unhelpful thoughts and unpleasant feelings to identify your own specific patterns and triggers – putting you back in control. 

Sharing the data of your tracking with a therapist or mental health professional can be extremely valuable. It can provide detailed and accurate information so they can help you work through any complex emotions and behaviours holding you back.

Additional symptoms of depression

As well as the above, there are other common symptoms of depression that you may experience, including the following:

  • Restlessness, agitation, and irritability 
  • Feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • A sense of unreality
  • Feelings of guilt or numbness
  • Experiencing angry outbursts over minor things
  • Social isolation
  • A loss of interest in sex or other activities you previously enjoyed
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Physical aches and pains with no medical cause or explanation
  • Anxiety

Risk factors

Mania episode - Centres for Health and Healing

Various risk factors increase a person’s likelihood of developing depression throughout their lifespan.

These risk factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Family history: A family history of depression or other mental illness can increase your risk of developing depression.
  • Mental health history: If you’ve experienced depression or other mental health issues in the past, you may be at increased risk of developing depression in the future.
  • Biological factors: Imbalances in specific brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, can contribute to depression.
  • Chronic illness: Being diagnosed with a chronic disease or serious medical condition can increase your risk of depression.
  • Trauma or chronic stress: Traumatic events, such as abuse, neglect, or the loss of a loved one, can cause depression, which may worsen over time if left untreated.
  • Substance addiction: Alcohol or drug abuse can lead to or worsen depression.
  • Personality traits: Specific personality characteristics can be risk factors for depression. For instance, individuals who worry excessively about many different things or regularly experience low self-esteem.
  • Social withdrawal: Lack of a robust social support system can induce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which may increase your risk of developing depression.

Treatment options for depression

As mentioned, depression is a highly treatable condition, with many people experiencing favourable outcomes after treatment.

Some of the most effective treatment programs for depression include an integrated treatment approach that not only addresses a person’s symptoms but also the root cause of their depression.

These treatments may include the following:

Your doctor or therapist may also prescribe specific medication to help with your depression symptoms, allowing you to function better in various aspects of your life.

How Centres for Health and Healing can help

Centres for Health and Healing provide personalised, holistic treatment programs for all types of depression, shaped around your individual preferences, goals, and therapeutic needs.

Our highly-trained and compassionate staff provide the highest level of care and support to guarantee deep transformational healing and lasting recovery.

We also offer a complete aftercare plan following treatment, providing the necessary tools to support your long-term recovery with comprehensive follow-up treatments and support available as and when you need it.

Our individualised treatment approach considers all the various parts that must be unpacked and worked through to ensure you get the most out of your recovery, including trauma-informed treatment and other therapies.

In addition, our client-centric approach blends various treatment methods and modalities, which, when brought together, creates lasting healing and recovery. The goal is always to treat the ‘whole’ person, not just their symptoms.

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, please get in touch with our friendly treatment centre in Ontario for further information and support about our depression treatment program.

We are here to guide you toward lasting resilience, transformation, and wellness.

Additional resources you might find helpful

  1. Can Depression Make Food Not Taste as Good? PsychCentral, Chantelle Pattemore, August 2022
  2. Why depression makes you tired and how to deal with fatigue, Insider, Madeleine Burry, April 13, 2020
  3. What to Expect from Inpatient Depression Treatment: An Overview, Centres for Health and Healing, Lisa Davies, August 30, 2023
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