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What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Depression has many faces, and it often takes a skilled eye to recognize symptoms of depression.

By Rowan MarleyPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

Depression is one of the most difficult things to recognize when you're talking to a person normally, primarily because there are so many different ways that people can react to having depression. Some become hyper-extroverted. Others become totally withdrawn. Even more, don't realize they are depressed because they become numb.

If you are worried about someone you know, you better know what the most common symptoms of depression are. Here are the most common warning signs everyone should know about when dealing with someone who might be depressed.

Major Changes in Appetite, Sleep, Drug Use and/or Weight

Depressed people aren't themselves; mental illness tends to take over who they are. Biologically speaking, depression affects every aspect of your being. This means that there are some physical symptoms that come along with being depressed that most people can easily pick up on.

The most physically visible symptoms of depression are pretty easy to pick out. These include the following:

  • Dramatically increased or decreased appetite. Most depressed people will either overeat or undereat. This, in turn, causes major weight gain or weight loss. In certain cases, this can cause an eating disorder.
  • Bags under their eyes or looking constantly sleepy. Many depressed people tend to have trouble sleeping, or won't be able to stop sleeping. Depression can cause certain hormones to fluctuate a lot more, which in turn causes sleep problems.
  • Slower movements, or decreased activity. Did the person lose interest in activity? This is a common sign of depression since depression causes people to lose motivation.
  • Low libido. Depressed people are rarely in the mood for sex.
  • Increased drinking or drug use. Many people also will self-medicate to cope with depression. If you notice track marks or anything similar alongside emotional symptoms, it could be that the addiction was caused by depression.

Now that we covered the more physical symptoms of depression, let's talk about the mental ones.

Gloom and Doom

The most obvious symptoms of depression involve a gloomy, sad, and overall sorrowful mood. They may cry, be unable to find joy in what they used to love, or be totally preoccupied with the darker side of life.

This suffocating feeling of gloom and sorrow tends to make people feel uncomfortable around others. So, they also may end up withdrawing from social groups to fend for themselves.

Gloomy vibes also may reduce their motivation to work or take care of themselves. They often won't see the point in self-care during depression.

On a similar note, people who are depressed tend to feel like they have low self-worth, and may also make jokes that allude to it. Gallows humor is a common theme among depressed people.

Aggression, Irritability, and Restlessness

Most people don't realize this, but depression often shows itself as aggression, anger, and restlessness. If you notice that the person you're talking to is unusually irritable, then it could be that they are suffering from depression.

That being said, many symptoms of depression also alter the way we see the world. This is why many people who are depressed don't think their outbursts are as bad as they really are, and why so many people who are depressed also tend to project their feelings onto others.

Either way, argumentative and irritable behavior tends to be a sign something is very wrong.


On the other hand, some people who are suffering from depression and have low-self esteem might over-compensate for it. This is why so many people tend to be shocked when the happiest person they know suddenly kills themselves.

If you notice that someone seems to be forcing themselves to act confident, happy, and popular, then it could be a sign of depression. However, this isn't always the case. Some people really are that naturally happy. So, it could go either way.


One of the last symptoms of depression to look out for is numbness. As in, some people, when depressed, won't feel anything at all. They won't be joyful, they won't be sad...they just go numb. This is known as anhedonia at times, but sometimes, it's not really anything that can be defined.

Remember — you don't have to be sad to be depressed. This is an illness that can show itself in a million different ways. That's why it's such a hard illness to detect.

If you feel you are depressed, it's okay to ask for help. If you are worried that someone you know is depressed, it's also okay to be there for them and offer them advice on where to get help, if they so choose to do so.


About the Creator

Rowan Marley

Rowan Marley is a 20-year-old sports enthusiast who hails from Brooklyn. When he's not hitting up a local Zumba class, he's drinking organic smoothies. That's just how he rolls.

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