Depression: Signs and symptoms not to ignore

Jan 21, 2020


All of us have felt sad, tired or disappointed at one time or another. But what does it mean when these negative feelings linger day after day, week after week?

Around half of all people with depression are not diagnosed or treated. But about 10% of those who struggle with depression also deal with suicidal thoughts. Getting help is crucial to living a healthy, peaceful life.

Symptoms not to ignore

Being depressed is not the same as being unhappy. People often use the term depression loosely to describe a rough week at work or a friend moving away. But clinical depression is more complex. Feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy and anxious thoughts can interfere with relationships, work and health. These signs are important not to ignore.

  • Extreme mood swings. People who have sudden switches from frustration to absolute calm are often struggling with underlying feelings of depression. Depression is often associated with severe emotional swings, causing bursts of anger one minute and uncontrollable tears the next.
  • Staying awake all night. Insomnia is closely linked to depression. For many people, anxious thoughts and extreme fatigue can lead to tossing and turning all night. Insomnia and depression act as a vicious cycle, with each one making the other worse.
  • Sleeping all day. Any disruption in normal sleep patterns can be a sign of depression. If you regularly have trouble getting out of bed or find yourself going to sleep immediately after work, you may be depressed.
  • Loss of interest in activity. One of the most telltale signs of depression is a loss of interest in regular activity. This could include everything from a lack of interest in socializing to feeling too tired to exercise, work, or participate in regular hobbies.
  • Changes in appetite and weight. For some people, negative feelings cause them to eat more. In others, depression will cause them to lose their appetite. Uncontrolled changes in weight and appetite can be a sign that something is wrong.

What can you do?

Thankfully, there are treatment options to help people successfully manage these negative thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, there is a physical reason that a person is experiencing changes in mood and behavior. Your doctor may prescribe medications such as antidepressants, recommend psychotherapy or write a treatment plan that includes both.

It’s important to understand that depression is not your fault. Your symptoms may be caused by genetics, hormonal changes, trauma, stress or another physical condition. Often, managing depression will include making intentional changes, such as managing stress through meditation, repeating positive self-affirmations or joining a support group to connect with others.

When to see a doctor

If you are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your daily life or relationships, it’s time to see a doctor. A healthcare provider can help you identify the root cause of your symptoms and provide treatment options to help you find relief.